Alla Afonina/ Vera Laponkina
Sacred place (project in progress)
We started working on this project in March 2014. We explore the churches that have not been used for their original purpose since the Soviet period. Instead, they were turned into shops, cultural centres, gyms, educational institutions, museums, planetariums, houses, plants and factories. We photograph all over Russia trying to capture how sometimes contradictory contexts paradoxically combine in a single whole.
We travelled a lot and made photos in Vologda, Torzhok, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Dmitrov, Saransk, Kostroma, Danilov. Some of the churches we found there were rebuilt and turned into ordinary buildings and only special fragments of old interiors and facades were preserved. We found unusual angles for our pictures to show how old church architecture with arks, vaulting, columns combines with new reality. Some buildings still had frescoes depicting saints, sometimes they were located in the attic, but unfortunately most of them have not survived. Also we talked with people, who lived where and they made interesting comments about the churches and remembered fantastic stories about their old life.
This project is not finished, we have some new extraordinary places which must be photographed this year. We think that this project is very important for modern world and especially for Russia. In recent years the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church has been growing and the process of the restitution of Church buildings has become easier. Some former churches from our project were returned to Orthodox Church. They were reconstructed and now one can see priests, icons and religious services there.
Алла Афонина/Вера Лапонкина
Святое место (проект в разработке)
Работа над проектом началась в марте 2014 года. Мы исследуем церкви, которые начиная с советского времени перестали использоваться по прямому назначению. Вместо этого они превратились в магазины, дома культуры, спортзалы, учебные заведения, музеи, планетарии, жилые дома, заводы и фабрики.Мы фотографируем по всей России, стараясь запечатлеть то, как противоречивые порой контексты парадоксально соединяются в единое целое.