Electric dreams: mid-Noughties Muscovites and their domestic appliances

British photographer Will Webster took these pictures outside the legendary Gorbushka market in Moscow in 2006. Back then, Gorbushka, an enormous market for music, electronics and household equipment in the west of the city, was a symbol of Russia's new-found capitalism and a place where consumer dreams came true. Webster photographed happy shoppers with their stereos, vacuum cleaners, TVs and chunky laptops just outside the trading space. "The idea was to create an impression of happiness that comes with the acquisition of material goods and some movement closer to an aspirational dream that surrounds us, once we enter the consumer and producer cycle as it grinds relentlessly towards some notional better place," says Webster. In trying to capture a certain emotional state, the photographer also caught a glimpse of the lifestyle and habits of Muscovites and the unique atmosphere of the city during the rise of consumerism in the mid-Noughties. "After taking the pictures I didn't really register what I had done," says Webster. "Finding them several years later, I was struck by the pace at which things had moved on; everything had dated. The fabric of the people and the place are for sure no longer the same, and what it represents — societal or personal progress through globalised consumption — is a very different proposition in the cooled environment of todays geopolitics.”

5 November 2014