menu menu RU logotype

The "Moscow. Heroes" Documentary Photo Project

The "Moscow. Heroes" Documentary Photo Project

"The spring of 2020 was not an easy time for our city. The danger of the pandemic changed the lifestyles of Moscow residents who had to stop going to work, walking around the city or meeting up with friends. We all stayed at home to prevent the spread of the virus; we were worried about our loved ones, but we were also hopeful. And the city was being kept alive by those who we would not have survived without.

The "Moscow. Heroes" project stemmed from our desire to capture these difficult times and the stories of people who became our heroes," says project curator Nina Gomiashvili.

The photo project is dedicated to a difficult but unique period in the life of Moscow, as seen by five famous photographers: Arsen Revazov, Margo Ovcharenko, Nanna Heitmann, Alexei Kiselyov and Georgy Pinkhasov.

All participants are experts in their respective genres, and that's how the project has managed to bring together artistic expressions with different styles and intonations. What unites all the different photographs included in the project is the desire to capture the evidence of a dramatic and unique historic moment and to show the gratitude to everyone who helped keep the city alive during the tough times.

"It's going to be alright", Nanna Heitmann

Nanna Heitmann is a documentary photographer from Germany. Nanna is the youngest nominee for members of Magnum Photos since 2019. She has received prestigious international photography awards. In her photographs, Nanna captures moments that convey the mood and the atmosphere in a concise and exhaustive manner. The play of colour and light conveys the fragility of life and the impermanence of all things.

Nina Gomiashvili, project curator: "I think Nanna has managed to create a very girlish project about celebrating life. And she's done it with all her sympathy, kindness and compassion for all the tragic characters she witnessed amidst dramatic decorations."

Nanna Heitmann, about the project:

"When the virus broke out, I was in Moscow, and like most documentary photographers I was eager to find new characters and scenes. That's why I was thinking about travelling to more remote parts of Russia, somewhere the virus wouldn't be able to get to, and work there. Very soon, however, it became clear that it was a planet-wide pandemic and there was nowhere to hide, plus shooting in Moscow was actually very interesting and important."

"My mental state throughout the project was a mix of different, often contradictory feelings. Sometimes I felt enthusiastic after seeing all those people working so selflessly for the city and its residents, despite being tired and scared by the fact that I was also doing something important. On the other hand, the times were really hard for many people back then. I was looking at the blue skies and thought to myself how good I felt at the moment, how much I loved spring and the city, but then I would instantly feel sad about not being able to share that moment with my friends. Other people were also starting to feel different. During the first days of the project, you could sense that the doctors were nervous and stressed, and some of them confessed that it was a difficult time for them emotionally, but by the end of the project the atmosphere in hospitals became much calmer.

"During the project, I travelled by taxi a lot. The drivers were different: some were quiet and others were willing to talk. Conversations were mainly about their families. One Gett driver shared a very touching story about his wife who was worried about him and made sure his car had all the necessary protective equipment. I guess we all need more support from our loved ones and appreciate them more than ever during tough times."

Нанна_06

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Anna Shabashova, hospital employee. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_12

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum

Yulia Korotkikh, nurse. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_02

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

A Makeshift Canteen in a Swimming Pool. O.M. Philatov City Clinical Hospital No. 15
May 2020

Нанна_16

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Margarita Sokolova, nurse. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_07

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Olga Polikarpova, obstetrician/gynaecologist. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_14

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Nikolai Fedulov, nurse. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_10

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Ilya Golovchenko, obstetrician/gynaecologist. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_13

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Father Dimitriy and Deacon Father Vadim Delivering Their Sermon Without Worshippers. Saint Nicholas Church Na Tryokh Gorakh
May 2020

Нанна_05

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Irina Pershina, anaesthesiologist and intensive care physician. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_09

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Georgy Arbolishvili, Head of Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. City Clinical Hospital No. 52
May 2020

Нанна_08

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Meeting on Ukrainsky Boulevard
May 2020

Нанна_25

Nanna Heitmann, Magnum Photos

Infectious Diseases Hospital No. 2
May 2020

"A ride", Gueorgui Pinkhassov

Gueorgui Pinkhassov is a photographer, winner of international awards, winner of the World Press Photo contest in the "Art and Entertainment" nomination, member of Magnum Photos since 1988. Gueorgui Pinkhassov is a true expert when it comes to artistic journalism.

His unique talent allows Gueorgui to see and convey the feeling of something incredible in something ordinary. And that's how he keeps proving his own statement that what makes the art truly fresh, expressive and modern is not so much the object but the way of looking at it. Gueorgui’s first photos for the project were taken in the backyards of houses around his home. Dark buildings and bright windows, empty benches, tree leaves that look like they're breathing under the lights of street lamps, shadows and specks of light, the invisible presence of humans.

Nina Gomiashvili, project curator:

"Gueorgui is a singer of the city's geometry, an artist painting with lines and colours, a photographer of feelings, a surrealist photographer. When I learned that he was stuck in Moscow for the quarantine, I immediately seized the opportunity to adorn the crown of our project with this diamond."

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, about the project:

"A sudden change of circumstances altered my plans: my daughter got sick, so I had to self-isolate for two weeks as it was required, and I could not shoot anything. And then I ended up joining the project. I was very much enjoying it: having experienced the restrictions first-hand, I was happy to move around freely once again. As a photographer and photography teacher, I'm against concepts. But it's ok to have one as a reason to move in a certain direction. As something that motivates you for creating things.

The main thing in art is not to be basic. The recipe is simple: get up, get dressed, go outside and see something. When you try to come up with a concept or style in advance, you're making your life easier and try to predict what's going to happen. A human need to know what's about to come is very useful in science and social life, but very dangerous in photography.

I haven't worked under a set of restrictions for a long time. Clients who know my style tend to give me carte blanche, so I am free to decide where to go and what to photograph. But this time there were multiple conditions that determined my limits: I went to where I could, not always where I wanted to. So a lot happened by accident, which is a plus for photography."

1_2_1.jpg

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Hands
May 2020

PIG05228.jpg

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Gorky Park
May 2020

Пинхасов_28

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Aspen
May 2020

Пинхасов_10

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Reflection
May 2020

PIG01813.jpg

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

From Home
May 2020

Пинхасов_30

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Blue Arch
May 2020

Пинхасов_50

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

In a Taxi
May 2020

Пинхасов_33

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Trees in the Courtyard
May 2020

Пинхасов_32

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

The House of the Unions
May 2020

Пинхасов_35

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Victory Day
May 2020

Пинхасов_36

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Courtyard
May 2020

Пинхасов_37

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Magnum Photos

Sanitisation
May 2020

"The loved one", Arsen Revazov

Arsen Revazov is an art photographer, opinion journalist and a public figure. Arsen took up professional photography in the early 2000s. His signature style is using infrared photography and double exposure. The main characters of Arsen's photographs are spaces and objects. The artist uses them to convey the timeless yet up-to-date atmosphere of the city. Revazov's Moscow is a majestic city created by people and for people, a large urban centre waiting to get back to its regular life. This impression is achieved with complex light effects and great attention to details.

Nina Gomiashvili, project curator:

"Arsen's amazing ability to distance himself from an object to get to know it better, combined with infrared photography have created a Moscow that cannot be seen with a naked eye, and it's in perfect harmony with the topic of our project. His techniques seem to multiply the feel of the never-before-seen empty city, and the results are breathtaking."

Arsen Revazov, about the project:

"Moscow is a very beautiful city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its beauty is made up of the charm of specific locations and their diversity. That's what separates Moscow from many other interesting cities—it has so many different versions and styles of beauty that you won't find anywhere else. But most of the time Moscow sights are oversaturated with storylines. City landscapes are filled with streams of cars and crowds of people—all the essential components of the urban lifestyle. Wonderful little villas are usually hidden behind the cars parked in front of them, so you never get a chance to photograph them the way you want.

Every stroke, every speck and transition of light adds to the overall picture, and the camera angle helps you instantly recognise a place, but also shows it from a different perspective. When the crisis broke out, I was at the largest international photo festival—FotoFest—in Texas, USA. When I realised I had to quickly decide where I was going to spend the following few months, I knew I wanted to be in Moscow. I came back just as the quarantine started and I was happy to join the project.

I received a lot of help from other people who were involved in the process; drivers would always rush to pick me up, which is crucial because my job relies a lot on the weather, and just by looking out the window I can tell if I can take some photos today; highway patrol officers were also there to help make my shots happen. Overall it felt like we all shared the feeling of living a unique moment and the need to capture it for the sake of history. People became more thoughtful and considerate to one another. We were longing for expressions of feelings and contact with others, and we became more compassionate."

Ландшафтный парк.jpg

Arsen Revazov

Landscape Park. VDNH
May 2020

Ревазов_16.jpg

Arsen Revazov

Friendship of the Peoples Fountain. VDNH
May 2020

Ревазов_11.jpg

Arsen Revazov

Buran Interactive Museum Complex. VDNH
May 2020

Ревазов_4.jpg

Arsen Revazov

Zolotoy Kolos Fountain (Golden Spike Fountain) VDNH
May 2020

Ревазов_15.jpg

Arsen Revazov

Central Alley. VDNH
May 2020

Ревазов_17.jpg

Arsen Revazov

The Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre. Cosmos Pavilion No. 34. VDNH
May 2020

"The Walk", by Alexei Kiselyov

Alexei Kiselyov is a photographer, DJ, and producer. He took up photography in 1998 in Ekaterinburg, gaining immediate popularity. He has been living in Mosocw since the mid-2000s. His works have been exhibited in major galleries of Moscow, and are regularly printed in magazines. Alexei Kiselyov works mostly in fashion photography and portraits. He is inspired by Moscow fashionistas, whose lives he has been scrupulously capturing on film for years.

Nina Gomiashvili, project curator:

"Alexei has got a very ironic and sharp eye. It's as if he is peaking from around the corner on the life of our city. His photos of a group of food delivery workers, who, for the time of the COVID-19 quarantine, became the unspoken kings of Moscow streets, are sure to become emblematic of spring-summer 2020. I love his spontaneous yet meticulously calculated photos."

Alexei Kiselyov, about the project:

"I just left my house and went for a walk in the neighbourhood. The Patriarch Ponds, Tverskaya Street—I love these spots and know them well. That's why I wanted to capture them during this moment of reboot, so to speak. As a result, I discovered my perfect Moscow: deserted but not abandoned'.

Frankly speaking, I never participate in projects and exhibitions—they're not my cup of tea. However, in this case everything fell into place, and I jumped on the idea to photograph something I would never be able to capture in normal life. My decision to take part in 'Heroes of Our Time' helped me reinvent myself as a photographer".

Киселев_19

Alexei Kiselyov

Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) couriers. Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

"I enjoyed taking photos of the Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) project employees: they look the most authentic, the most aesthetically attractive, especially their delivery workers. For a while, they "ruled the streets", and in the photos you can see that they really enjoyed the experience". Alexei Kiselyov

Киселев_20.jpg

Alexei Kiselyov

Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) couriers. Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

Киселев_21.jpg

Alexei Kiselyov

Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) couriers. Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

Киселев_13

Alexei Kiselyov

Road Patrol Officers of Moscow Traffic Control Centre
May 2020

"On one of the streets in the city centre, I came across some road patrol officers and asked if it was possible to go to their place of duty the following morning and take photos of their routine daily briefing and patrolling. They agreed". Alexei Kiselyov

R1-03550-0002.jpg

Alexei Kiselyov

Road Patrol Officers of Moscow Traffic Control Centre
May 2020

R1-03584-0025.jpg

Alexei Kiselyov

Road Patrol Officers of Moscow Traffic Control Centre
May 2020

Киселев_33

Alexei Kiselyov

Patriarch Ponds
May 2020

Киселев_30

Alexei Kiselyov

"I photographed people who, like myself, walked their dogs every day. Then I started looking for pockets of bustling life: take-out restaurants, delivery services. Not a photojournalist, I had to make a real effort to address people on the street. Normally, people come to me, asking that I take their photos, and I set the rules. Having to ask strangers for permission to photograph them was a new and exciting experience. Someone abruptly refused, others happily agreed". Alexei Kiselyov

Киселев_12

Alexei Kiselyov

Patriarch Ponds
May 2020

Киселев_24

Alexei Kiselyov

Bowlroom Café. Sytinsky Lane
May 2020

Киселев_21

Alexei Kiselyov

Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen). Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

Киселев_02

Alexei Kiselyov

Tilda Food & Bar Restaurant. Sytinsky Dead End
May 2020

Киселев_29

Alexei Kiselyov

Bekmurat, Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) food delivery courier. Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

Киселев_16

Alexei Kiselyov

Akmal, Kukhnya na Rayone (Neighbourhood Kitchen) food delivery courier. Leontyevsky Lane
May 2020

"While we stayed home", Margo Ovcharenko

Margo Ovcharenko is a photo-artist and winner of international competitions; Margo earned her Master's degree from Hunter College, NYC. Margo's solo exhibitions have been held in Paris, Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar and Moscow. Her works are artistic documentaries; Margo's style is a visual representation of a person's inner world with all its depth and doubts, struggle and humility, determination and vulnerability.

Nina Gomiashvili, project curator:

"Margo makes films. Every shot is filled with stories of previous and anticipation for the upcoming interaction of the character with the environment. Hitchcock's aesthetics and cynically exposing human nature—on one side, and showing a very touching and fragile world of characters in specific circumstances—on the other."

Margo Ovcharenko, about the project:

"We knew that when it came to hospitals we had to work very quickly: everyone, from doctors to administrative staff, were doing their part in a smoothly running process and often did not have a single spare minute. My task was to capture that world without disrupting its rhythm. The atmosphere in the Red Zone when medical workers are changing after a shift versus when they are about to start one are very different. After a day of work, everyone is incredibly tired, and having someone take their photos is the last thing they want.

Shifts can be 12 to 24 hours long, and doctors try not to eat or drink well before they enter the Red Zone, so they don't have to use the bathroom for as long as possible. But even there, in the middle of fighting the pandemic, humans remained humans. They found the power and the time to appreciate the importance of those moments. In one of the hospitals, several women working there wanted a picture of all of them together, to capture that part of their lives.

I think I will be proud of myself for doing it all, both as a photographer and as a person, because emotionally it was obviously not easy at all. I do hope that better times are ahead."

Овчаренко_06

Margo Ovcharenko

With the start of the epidemic, Mishelin, the clothing factory in Moscow, was reoriented to produce medical white gowns
May 2020

Овчаренко_18.jpg

Margo Ovcharenko

Oksana Fedotova, boarding specialist at the Mishelin clothing factory in Moscow
May 2020

Овчаренко_04

Margo Ovcharenko

Natalia Gavrikova, seamstress at Mishelin, the clothing factory in Moscow. Sewing White Coats
May 2020

Овчаренко_19.jpg

Margo Ovcharenko

Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel
May 2020

Марго_2.jpeg

Margo Ovcharenko

While Preparing to Move to the Red Zone. N.I. Pirogov City Clinical Hospital No. 1
May 2020

Овчаренко_20.jpg

Margo Ovcharenko

During the Break. Anna Mutukova, medical laboratory technician. Diagnostics Clinical Centre No. 1, Moscow Healthcare Department
May 2020

Овчаренко_16

Margo Ovcharenko

Svetlana Shapkina, housekeeper at the Hotel "National"
May 2020

Овчаренко_21.jpg

Margo Ovcharenko

Roman Khalanchuk, Gett driver
May 2020

Овчаренко_19

Margo Ovcharenko

Ranakhan Arapbaeva, hotel services inspector at the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya
May 2020

Овчаренко_02

Margo Ovcharenko

Kristina Rykova, 3D printer operator at SIU System, Technopolis Moscow Special Economic Zone
May 2020

Овчаренко_23

Margo Ovcharenko

Elen Sargsyan, student, nurse. After a Shift in the Red Zone, Canteen at N. I. Pirogov City Clinical Hospital No. 1
May 2020

57_Овчаренко.jpg

Margo Ovcharenko

Maya Bairak, passenger services assistant, Sheremetyevo VIP
May 2020

Овчаренко_18

Margo Ovcharenko

Irina Petrakova, porter at the Hotel "National"
May 2020

Овчаренко_08

Margo Ovcharenko

Natalia Kholodova, housekeeper at the Hotel "National"
May 2020

Project organiser: Moscow Tourism Committee
Project curator: Nina Gomiashvili
Photographers: Alexei Kiselyov, Arsen Revazov, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Margo Ovcharenko, Nanna Heitmann
Location: VDNH (Moscow, 119, Mira Avenue)

You might also enjoy this!


About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Misha; I've been living in Moscow since 2007

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Sasha and I've lived in Moscow for 13 years

6th category diver with the Directorate of Underwater Work at the Mosvodostok state unitary company

#peopleofthecity

Andrey Ivanov: The Work of a Diver Is Never Routine

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Maxim, I'm 21

Nurse with the medical unit

#peopleofthecity

Galina Podgornaya: It's Important to Perk the Crew Up Before a Flight

'A Tram Driver Should Know Everything'

#people

'A Tram Driver Should Know Everything'

Vladimir Konnov, driving instructor at the Vykhino depot of the Moscow Metro

#people

'Dreams Do Come True'

Head of the Strogino lifeguard station

#peopleofthecity

Vladimir Eroshin: I'm Inspired by the Gratitude of the People I Save

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

My name is Masha, I was born in Moscow

Head of the bridge repairs directorate of the Gormost state budget company

#peopleofthecity

Vasily Mashonin: We Do Good work for the City and Its Residents

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Seryozha, I was born in Moscow

Agent with the limited-mobility passenger service group

#peopleofthecity

Kirill Pischikov: The Smiles and Words of Gratitude from Passengers Are My Biggest Accomplishment

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

My name is Sabina and I was born in Moscow

5th category rope access maintenance electrician

#peopleofthecity

Andrey Alexandrov: The City from Above is Truly Something to Be Seen

Dispatch officer at the resource management unit of the technical directorate

#peopleofthecity

Svetlana Annenkova: No Two Days Are the Same — There's Always Something to Learn and Be Amazed By

'Young Men Often Try to Get to Know Me'

#people

'Young Men Often Try to Get to Know Me'

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

My name is Lisa, I moved to Moscow six years ago

А maintenance technician with Mosgaz

#peopleofthecity

Dmitry Titov: The Most Important Thing Is a Job Well Done

Сategory 1 K9 specialist and dog training instructor

#peopleofthecity

Igor Galushkin: Ready to Overcome Any and All Obstacles to Achieve the Most Important Goal — Safety

Head of Ornithological Flight Safety

#peopleofthecity

Dmitry Larin: You Always Have to Keep on Your Toes

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Velimir. I moved to Moscow from Saint Petersburg seven years ago

Road worker with the Motorways state budget company

#peopleofthecity

Nadezhda Burnasheva: I've Always Enjoyed My Job

Cable line service officer

#peopleofthecity

Alexandra Anufrieva: We Bring Light to the People!

Alexander Borodin: Chief Specialist at the Traffic Signals Operation Department of the Moscow Traffic Control Centre

#people

'Why Do Traffic Lights Need to Be Monitored?'

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

Hi, my name is Anya Boiko and I've lived in Moscow for over 20 year

The Work of Doctors at the Sheremetyevo International Airport

#heroes

The Work of Doctors at the Sheremetyevo International Airport

About the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow

#moskvichi

My name is Henrich and I was born and raised in Moscow

Yelena Lysenko-Saltykova, assistant train driver at the Central Suburban Passenger Company

#people

'I've Liked Trains Since I Was a Child'

X