I first visited Moscow in the late 90's, when I was 14. And for the second time – in September, 2014. Although I don't remember much of that first trip, over the years I have accumulated baggage of stereotypes and fears about this city.
Being on a business trip and spending everyday in a crazy rhythm of the megapolis, I barely had time to photograph, only taking mental notes of everything that touched me or seemed significant. I wanted to share them later. Those four days changed some of my old views. Yet, I saw that many of my prejudices were true. Good feelings took over some of the fears, although I could still feel uneasiness when being there and feel it today, as an aftertaste.
This series of images, made with Google Street View, illustrates my 4-day long journey. The trip that has started at Sheremetyevo Airport... then, weird and infinite parking along all the nearby highways... then, Khimki forest and the town of Khimki, where old houses and trees somehow reminded me of a good childhood... and where the rest of the town with its massive development, chaos and lack of space reminded me China, brought a feeling of claustrophobia.
We stayed on the Garden Ring, a street in the center of Moscow. This place amazed me with its eclecticism in architecture and frightened off with an endless stream of cars. From there I could walk to Red Square, passing by old merchant houses. Houses visited by Pushkin and places where Chkalov, Prokofiev, Eisenstein, Tchaikovsky had lived. Walking down the sidewalk covered with stencilled advertising. Seeing a large number of police and security, which made me feel unsafe...
The scenery along the way back to Sheremetyevo was filled with uniform residential areas up to the horizon. Those houses looked more oriental than European: often with quite bizarre nuances in architecture. Railway stations, garages, dachas closer to the outskirts of Moscow – there was again something from my childhood, or from an old Soviet film.
Will I go back there again, to discover another Moscow?