Public spaces are hotbeds of ideas and stories for street and documentary photographers because of the myriad of scenes they carry. In a project that is part documentary and part modern fairy tale, Moscow-based Frank Herfort explores the idea of Russia’s public spaces as multi-layered locations with narratives open to interpretation.
Frank’s project, titled “Time in Between,” imagines various settings and locations around Russia, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, frozen in a “condition of waiting.” This scenario, he believes, is something that has happened to the whole world, the people in these stories seemingly “totally absorbed in a deep, paralyzing, enchanted slumber.”
At first glance, the scenes he photographed appear to be indoor or outdoor portraits of people as he found them going about their daily activities. However, Frank also wanted to go beyond the typical portraits and the singular emotions that come with them. By making use of the melancholy atmosphere of the locations, and asking the people he met in these scenes for permission to pose them, he was able to create his own modern-day “fairy tales” of Russians seemingly frozen in their moment of waiting.
“In Western Europe everything is so neatly defined, so specific. A waiting room is a waiting room, an office is an office. In Russia, in contrast, rooms are open to interpretation, many-layered and not so prettified,” Frank said about the inspiration behind the project. “And I also noticed that there seem to be many more people just sitting around in them. None of them seems at first sight to know what they are doing there. I tried to integrate people like that into my pictures.”