Cinema paradiso: a photographer’s ode to Russia’s dying movie theatres
With more and more cinemas in Russia losing out to multiplexes, photographer Sergey Novikov sought to capture the old buildings in their new incarnations — sometimes abandoned, sometimes used for discos and fairs or taken over by Jehovah's Witnesses. Breathless was shot in Moscow and St Petersburg between 2010 and 2011 by Novikov, a graduate of the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. "I prefer an engrossing film to disgusting popcorn," he says. "I don't mind shifting about in a squeaky chair, soaking in the atmosphere of an old cinema. Unfortunately, the films have already left them." Novikov's work, which has been published in magazines such as Russian Esquire and Italian Rolling Stone, covers a wide range of subjects from Belgian beer to Icelandic landscapes. In 2011, he self-published FC Volga United, a book of photos about football fans who live along the Volga, Europe's longest river.
Allure and exploitation in post-Soviet ruin photography