Dennis Hopper at his photo exhibition in the Manezh centre, Moscow, 2007.
From the article:
London-based photographer Christopher Leigh started photographing Russian and Ukrainian cemeteries in 2007. At first his obsession was purely visual. "I was first struck by the visual nature of the memorials: the rather sad portraits that feature on many of them; the mixture of Soviet and religious motifs; the monumentality of the granite and marble used to sculpt the graves," explains Leigh. But as he kept exploring the cemetery grounds he realised that he was capturing a blueprint of values in a rapidly changing society, a strange mixture of traces from private and public lives: Orthodox crosses sit next to communist stars, military regalia and personal photos. "I particularly like the military man in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery who has a battery of Katyusha rockets mounted above him. The memorial to Boris Yeltsin — a giant ruffled Russian flag of stone and mosaic tiles — is also a favourite." Leigh's photos are full of hidden references, from religious iconography to 20th-century official portraiture, but on a deeper level they always evoke a sense of perfect stillness. "In cities like Moscow, cemeteries are one of the few places you can go for peace and quiet," says Leigh. "I think I will always be drawn back for that reason."
Shawls for sale, 2014.