HomeTrendingRussian Street Photographer Captures The Beauty, Sadness, And Weirdness Of His Country

Russian Street Photographer Captures The Beauty, Sadness, And Weirdness Of His Country

Award-winning Russian photographer Alexander Petrosyan has spent many years documenting the world around him in St. Petersburg. His shots show the reality of life in the expansive city. “If the picture is taken with a certain energy, the viewer will feel it, regardless of geography and culture,” he says. Let’s check out his intimate and often surprising shots of Mother Russia!

A Hazy Stairwell

Alexander Petrosyan started shooting photos in 2000. “The most important thing is to shoot what you really love,” he told a photography blogger in 2011.

Street Signs

Travel postcards only tend to share picture-perfect beauty. Not Petrosyan’s work, though. According to his website, he “finds true joy in exploring and portraying his subjects in innovative ways.”

Pigeon Costume—Da, Why Not?

The street photographer was born in 1965 in Lviv, Ukraine. He received his first camera on his 12th birthday, and today, he’s among the most well-known photographers in Russia.

Youth Gathering

As he learned the ins and outs of professional photography, Alexander quit and came back to the art several times over the years. He eventually settled into the business in 2000.

Normal Wedding Photos

Today, he works for the Kommersant Publishing House. His work has been featured in NewsweekNational Geographic, and a number of other magazines around the world.


“The most difficult thing is not to repeat yourself,” he says. “Get away from your own signature style and traditions; you have to update your thinking and seek change constantly.”


Petrosyan has won numerous awards, including the St. Petersburg Award for Photographer of the Year. Well-deserved accolades indeed, because he’s done a great job of documenting things that might never be seen otherwise.

Spare Legs

“I have two subjects: the city and the people. Saint Petersburg is my favorite stage. But I’m also lucky to be able to travel a lot with my work.”

It’s Party Time

“More striking, perhaps, is Petrosyan’s knack for especially human street shooting in that his shots are neither impersonal nor simply depict people going about their daily business,” wrote one website of his work.


Petrosyan’s website explains how he realized that “in order to truly understand the world around him, he must first try to capture it through the camera lens.”

Through The Window

“Time passes, and through photographs, memories of their inception are as bright as if they were yesterday,” Petrosyan writes, “Looking at the pictures, I live those moments again and again.”

Taking A Stroll

Russia is a fascinating and foreign land to much of the rest of the world. Old meets new, livestock roams the city streets, and subzero temperatures scare nobody.


“There is something extraordinary about even the most seemingly ordinary aspects of life,” he says. He’s done a terrific job of documenting the nation’s unique citizens and their ways of life.

Over The Shoulder

“I have given to all my pictures a title on the sensation that I felt while shooting them. They’re completely personal titles, even though I think that a beautiful photo doesn’t need any name at all.”

Spooky Public Transit

“It just has to hit the heart of who observes it, and there’s no single name or title that can express such a subjective emotional language.”

Fighting A Blaze

He titled his first photography book Kunstkamera, or “Curiosity.” The pages contain 120 of his best photos that show the strengths and weaknesses of his city.

A Military Parade

It doesn’t look like much can spook Alexander—not patients in the hospital, not the military, and certainly not abandoned houses or dangerous fires.


Saint Petersburg is among the most visually exciting cities in the world, but the truth is that many of its inhabitants aren’t doing well.

Millions In Poverty

Three million more Russian citizens fell below the poverty line in 2015, meaning they earned less than $180 each month. That pushes the total to over 19 million.

Economic Instability

The Russian economy has always relied heavily on oil. The lowering oil prices around the world have very much contributed to economic instability within the country.

Facing Serious Challenges

“Our country faces serious economic challenges,” said President Vladimir Putin in 2016. ”Investments have decreased, the demand for your production has reduced. I can understand well your anxiety for the future.”

Rising Homelessness

As economic challenges have put more and more Russian citizens out of work in recent years, the streets have filled with more and more homeless people.

Keeping Warm

Russian citizens still stand by their president, though, and the country’s inhabitants have become notably more tolerant of its homeless population in recent years.

A Normal Day On The Train

You won’t see these photos on postcards or tourism websites. Petrosyan has done a great job documenting the humor, happiness, sadness, and truth of his home country.

Not Your Average Catwalk


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