My family grew up during the Soviet Regime – closed borders, almost no communication outside the USSR, pretty different to the western world - and I was born right when this all collapsed.
We left Moscow when I was 5 years old and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been back since. An army draft awaits should I go back now, though before the laws changed I had a chance to visit my family. Having not seen them since the late 2000s, I saw and experienced not only a generational gap, but a massive cultural one too, and knew it would be important to document.
This is my family, and this is my Russia.
Documenting time with my partner Lucy.
In the mountains of Georgia, 20km north of the Turkish border is the village of Agara. Predominantly a country of Christian Orthodox, the Muslim villagers carved out an identity for themselves even during the Soviet Union. Now, under 200 people live in the village, after studies many of the youth move toward the inner-cities for work and a modern way of life. This projects explores the lives of those who chose to stay behind.
Kinbaku (緊縛) is the art of Japanese Rope Bondage. During Edo era Japan, the Samurai class used rope in combat to restrain criminals and prisoners of war in a martial art called hojojutsu, a brutal practice that bears little resemblance to the kinbaku it evolved to be today. With consent, people are tied up and relinquish full control to the ‘rigger’. I wanted to explore both the mental space people escape to while being tied up, and the art of the ropework itself.
A selection of photos taken on the street.