Maria Gruzdeva: Russian Borders

“Territory is something so earthy and solid, yet abstract at the same time. Like the borders themselves – they exist and limit us, but they are not material or tangible.” 

Maria Gruzdeva

At 17 million square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world. Maria Gruzdeva, a Russian photographer who lives outside Russian borders, began to ponder her native country’s current identity and how history is manifested in it. Gruzdeva wanted to know what it feels like to live on the borders of such a vast country, far away from the ideological centre while still belonging to the country called Russia.

Russian Borders is a journey through Russia carried out in 2011–2015. This ethnographic journey shows how cultural symbols are used to delineate and limit areas and simultaneously to build a collective identity.

Gruzdeva kept photo journals on her journey, in which she recorded the thoughts, feelings, and stories that people had shared with her. The journals became an important and touching collection of what is happening at the borders and how the people there live.

Maria Gruzdeva (b. 1989) lives and works in London. She has a degree from Central Saint Martins School of Art. The project is supported by IdeasTap & Magnum Photos.


PVF 2016
The Finnish Museum of Photography