During the 1990's Russia went through an enormous economic, social and political transition following the dissolution of the USSR. These events marked the end of an era and brought people into the new world of uncertainty. Visual artist Lise Sarfati, who was living in Russia throughout this decade, gave us a rare opportunity to delve into the lives of these people.


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Sarfati grew up in Nice, France, graduated in from Sorbonne in 1979 with a thesis on Russian photography. From 1989 to 1998 she lived in Russia, taking photographs in Moscow, Norilsk, and Vorkuta. Lise managed to skillfully capture the raw and unpolished reality of the Russian youth. Her images are full of visual drama, crumbling buildings, disturbing poverty and abandoned factories straight out of a horror movie set. Subjects vary from little children smoking cigarettes to young transsexuals and teenage runaways interned in 're-education' camps.

43 of Lise's photographs were featured in her first book, Acta Est. Her work is a powerful historical record of post- Soviet Russia, showing the kind of life we never see in history books. It's a unique visual perspective of human existence living through a huge social upheaval and shift of political regime, the likes of which has rarely been recorded so vividly. Scroll down to see Lise's gritty and hard-hitting images for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

#1

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Pheck Phul 1 week ago

I lived in Ukraine in '95-'96. This reminds me of the first time I visited a clinic. It was so dark and dirty, just like the rest of the country.

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#2

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Thomas Es Thomas 1 week ago

Sitting in a broken Thyssen escalator with wooden steps.

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#3

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Clodvig Mily 1 week ago

About photos of children in this article. I suppose that they deptic homeless children of Russia. According to data from 2013, 5 million homeless people live in Russia, 20% of them (or 1 million) are children. I would recommend two documentaries by Hanna Polak who deal with this issue for nearly 20 years. The Children of Leningradsky - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5T_O-L5Mis SOMETHING BETTER TO COME (trailer) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PereQR9lSk

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#4

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

C 1 week ago

This looks like a painting

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#6

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Marc Sullivan 1 week ago

I'm with Mara Sky. What's going on here? It looks like a dismal Hole in the wall style convenience store where they sell cigs bybthe cig ( we did not hear in the United States in the 90s as well and there are still plenty of dismal hole-in-the-wall convenience stores throughout many major cities.

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#7

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Marc Sullivan 1 week ago

Is it creepy? Yes it is. But the truth isn't always beautiful is it? I've Heard lots of tales of people who went to visit out there and how you could pay almost nothing to abuse these people in any way you want. Women would get paid to be drunk in areas of a room separated by little more than a shower curtains and you could do whatever the hell you wanted to them shy of killing them. You are literally looking at one of the most corrupt areas of the world. Human trafficking is huge out there.

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#8

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

Marc Sullivan 1 week ago

Some commentary from the photographer or from the person who put this together to give some understanding to what is going on in these pictures would be greatly helpful.

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#9

Lise Sarfati Photographs

Lise Sarfati Report

grace schwarz 1 week ago

these photos are really quite incredible

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