Heidi Hollinger, in a photographic tour-de-force, has captured the spirit of the Russian people as they adjust to their new freedoms. Her sympathetic portraits reveal how some "emerging" Russians relish their new opportunities while others, rooted in the past, struggle to survive in their changing world. The wide-ranging collection in this sumptuous volume includes images of workers, entertainers, artists, military officers, religious leaders, cosmonauts, Stalin's great-grandson, and Lenin's niece, among others. Accompanying the portraits is a fascinating text by Jonathan Sanders, who provides insight about the people of modern Russia and Hollinger's importance in documenting them during this intriguing, troubled era.
For nearly a decade, Hollinger has lived in Russia, at first as a visitor and gradually as an insider, gaining access to such high-profile politicians as Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin, as well as other top-echelon personalities. At the same time she explored Moscow's lower depths: mounted on in-line skates and armed with mace, she invited typical Russians to her studio to pose for a portrait. Her "working folk" images are in the tradition of pre-Revolutionary masters, who also wandered through the streets in search of representative faces to photograph.