Since yesterday’s terrorist bombing, I have been thinking about Saint Petersburg and all of the amazing people that I met there on my visit six months ago. With the heightened tensions between the United States and Russia, I had anticipated some aloofness at the very least from local residents, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone that I met was friendly, helpful, and went above and beyond to be welcoming.
Russia’s second city and former capital is a sprawling metropolis of contrasts and surprises. After a stay of just a week, I can’t say that I more than scratched the surface of this extraordinary place. Given the opportunity, I’d gladly return, but only after I learned more Russian. Thank goodness for translation apps, since I barely mastered the alphabet and a handful of phrase prior to my trip.
What I did learn though was the quirky, off-kilter vibe of the city. It’s the kind of place that demands local interpretation all of the time. And I recently discovered the work of a native Saint Petersburg photographer who manages to capture the humor, history, and pathos of the city, while avoiding the usual touristy photo cliches.
Aleksandr Petrosyan is a photojournalist who has spent his free time wandering the streets of his home town for more than a decade grabbing images of the city and its people that allude outsiders. His photos have an offbeat humor, but are also tinged by the rawness just below the surface of Saint Petersburg. You can see more of his work on his website.
all images © Aleksandr Petrosyan except the top one