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SSEES Research Blog


A showcase of research from UCL's School of Slavonic and East European Studies staff and students


Capturing St Petersburg street life

By Sarah J Young, on 5 December 2012

Richard Morgan’s photographic response to the ‘Petersburg text’ of Russian literature reflects on the recurrring characters who populate the spaces of the city.

It was hard not to be deliberate in the most ‘intentional’ of cities, as Dostoevsky’s underground man described it. But then again, accidents and exceptions were hard to come by, so I had to manufacture them. There are obvious regularities to a city and a day’s walk is usually enough to notice some of them. I don’t know why, but there is a probability to urban chance. Some things you see today will happen again tomorrow.

St Petersburg’s repeatability lends itself to juxtaposition. Contrast happens every second on Nevsky Prospect. It is so predictable you can lie in wait. Moments of tension rapidly take place, rolling over and over in a never-ending series of visual jokes.


‘Eye contact on Nevskii prospekt’, Richard Morgan, May 2011