The air is grainy with mist and suspense. Passersby with smudged faces move against a backdrop of endless tower blocks and the dull sheen of wet asphalt, lit by the neon glare of signs advertising bargain stores, sex shops, and kebab kiosks. These aren’t stills from a new Ridley Scott or David Lynch film, but an Instagram account documenting the lives of the Moscow suburbs, a project of the photographer Konstantin Vikhrov.
The project focuses on the mundane details of everyday suburban life, where people emerge from the depths of the metro and hurry home past scenery so familiar that it could be in any number of Russian cities. The result channels a surprising cyberpunk edge, transforming the suburbs of Moscow and the capital’s commuter towns into the outskirts of a dystopian metropolis.
Moscow-based Vikhrov says that he got the initial idea for the project several years ago, while snapping portraits of people in front of Moscow’s awkward and unsightly store signs. He decided to widen his scope, capturing the ugly aesthetics of Russian capitalism in all their glory.
The project has gained popularity in recent weeks and Vikhrov, who says he is inspired by photographers like Georgy Pinkhasov and Alexander Gronsky, has been lauded for transforming the most mundane parts of everyday life into a piece of art. As one follower commented: “These are the surroundings that we don’t notice because we are too busy with our lives, or that we choose not to notice because we want to be somewhere else. We see all the objects in these photographs so often that we’ve lost the ability to appreciate them, and turning them into art moves our gaze back onto them.”