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Soviet Metro Stations

A lecture and presentation with photographer Christopher Herwig followed by a Q&A discussing his latest project - Soviet Metro Stations, a new book from Fuel Publishing. The book goes far beyond the obvious chandelier beauty of the Moscow Metro and explores the systems of 15 cities across 6 countries from the former USSR.

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From extreme marble and chandelier opulence to brutal futuristic minimalist glory, Soviet Metro Stations documents this wealth of diverse architecture. The presentation will also focus on the experience of travelling and photographing in the various countries which up until recently considered the Metros as military structures and off limits to photography. With over 15,000 images captured in total, the talk and slide show will offer a glimpse into the selection process as well as share details not published.

‘For us’, said Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs, ‘there was something supernatural about the Metro’. Visiting any of the dozen or so Metro networks built across the Soviet Union between the 1930s and 1980s, it is easy to see why. Rather than the straightforward systems of London, Paris or New York, these networks were used as a propaganda artwork – a fusion of sculpture, architecture and art, combining Byzantine, medieval, baroque and Constructivist ideas and infusing them with the notion that Communism would mean a ‘communal luxury’ for all. Today these astonishing spaces remain the closest realisation of a Soviet utopia.

Following his best-selling quest for Soviet Bus Stops, Christopher Herwig has completed a subterranean expedition – photographing the stations of each Metro network of the former USSR. From extreme marble and chandelier opulence to brutal futuristic minimalist glory, Soviet Metro Stations documents this wealth of diverse architecture. Along the way Herwig captures individual elements that make up this singular Soviet experience: neon, concrete, escalators, signage, mosaics and relief sculptures all combine build an unforgettably vivid map of the Soviet Metro.

With over twenty years of experience in more than ninety countries, Christopher Herwig is a Canadian-born photographer and videographer determined to find beauty and inspiration in all aspects of life. A firm belief that the thrill of exploration is still alive in the world has sent him hitch-hiking from Vancouver to Cape Town, across Iceland by foot and raft, and through Europe on a bike. Currently based in Jordan, his previous homes have included Liberia and Kazakhstan. His photographs of some of the remotest regions of the world – from the Pamir mountains in Tajikistan to the rainforests of West Africa – have been reproduced in publications including GEO, CNN Traveler, Geographical and Lonely Planet. He has worked extensively with non-government organisations and UN agencies in some of the most challenging regions, to put a human face to their statistics and bring project proposals to life.

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