Life on the streets in any country can be gritty and uncomfortable, but out on the streets of Russia it is often violent and unforgiving.
At least that is the impression you get from looking at these pictures taken by Moscow-based street photographer and skateboarder Petr Barabakaa.
Fittingly, Barabakaa got his start in photography after finding his first camera – a Soviet-era Kiev-19 – in a skip, and has been taking pictures ever since.
Hands up: A Russian boy points a handgun at the camera in this picture by Moscow street photographer Petr Barabakaa
Grin and bear it: A toothless man with a swollen eye and a London underground cap poses for Barabakaa, who says he was attracted to the streets by the ‘weird’ people who live there
Kick in the teeth: Barabakaa’s images often feature instants of violence, such as this man being kicked in the face
Bloody hell: A smartly-dressed man is covered in blood from a head wound. Barabakaa said he likes to use photography as a way to speak with people, but some images need to be captured in an instant
Full frontal: A woman exposes her breasts somewhere on the streets of Russia. As well as violence, nudity is another theme to Barabakaa’s work, with the aim of making people ‘feel something’
Lost in the moment: Barabakaa’s images are not all sinister, however, as this picture of young women dancing shows
No pain, no gain: A person is tattooed by the light of a table lamp. Fittingly, given his subject matter, Barabakaa found his first camera in a skip and has been taking pictures ever since
Cleaning up: A man bathes in a bathtub full of mud in this bizarre shot captured somewhere in Russia
Big Brother is watching: A huge portrait of Vladimir Putin gives this images of a street market an Orwellian feel
Being a skateboarder, he said he has always been attracted to the street and the ‘weird’ people he finds there, according to Some/Things Magazine.
Barabakaa told Lens Magazine that he began skating in 1999 and started taking pictures not long after, at first documenting the rough-and-tumble life of Russia skating scene.
But his focus eventually broadened to include people outside the skating community, allowing him to speak with with the characters he saw through the medium of photography.
‘Often I’m interested in communicating with the people I shoot, getting to know their story and thoughts, listening to what they dream about, what they want from life, he said.
Not all of his pictures involved such a conversation, however. Barabakaa often catches moments of tension or violence that require him to shoot first, and ask questions later.
Nudity is another theme of his work, with images often featuring bare skin or people in states of undress.
While Barabakaa like to talk to the people he shoots, he is less interested in his pictures having something to say.
Asked about the ‘message’ behind his photography, he said: ‘These days everyone thinks that the world needs to hear their opinion and everyone is trying to voice it. Take social media, for example.
‘Every day on Facebook, people express their views on different issues, but ultimately everyone is only interested in their own opinion. This is an era of egotism in practice…an artist, meanwhile, should search for his message to the world throughout his whole life.’
Taking a dip: Barabakaa said he often talks to the subjects of his photographs, getting to know them and their life stories before taking intimate portraits such as these
Free me: This woman’s ‘independence’ t-shirt is juxtaposed by the railing she is standing behind in this image
Burning rubber: A group of men look on as a car goes up in flames somewhere in Russia
Flash the flesh: An elderly man bears his scars and tattoos (left) while Orthodox Christians take a dip in icy waters to during annual Epiphany celebrations (right)
You looking at me? A man with a badly broken nose stares straight down the lens in this confronting shot
Snow scene: Not all of Barabakaa’s images focus on people, as this chilly street scene demonstrates
Past and future: A young man skateboards down the street as an elderly man passes on an entirely different set of wheels