I'd been inspired by the project, Photographs and assisted self-portraits by Anthony Luvera. These questions and answers seemed most apt for my project.

There was a barrage of fair and valid questions:
“What are you doing this for?”
“What do you want me to photograph?”
“Can I really photograph whatever I want?”
“Are you going to make money out of this?”
“What will I get out of this?”

I answered openly:
“I’m a photographer and I am interested.”
“I don’t know what your life is like, how could I attempt to photograph it?”
“Photograph absolutely whatever you like. Really.”
“I don’t know if I’ll make money out of this.”
“You can keep the photographs.”
“The photos might get exhibited or published in a book or a magazine.”
“You can still have a camera and keep your photos even if you don’t let me use them.” (from; http://www.luvera.com/old/)

I felt that I needed to explore a method of photographic representation that was free my subconscious western pre-conceptions. By using images taken by the people I could expect to get a more intimate view of the 'country that does not exist'.

Through my local contact and guide I distributed Fuji disposable cameras with flash, $10 hard currency and the loosest of instructions. I collected the cameras 6 months later.

The images have undoubtedly given my project an intimate depth that my efforts with a camera would have been unable to achieve. Christmas evening in a Russian army guardhouse would be stretching my abilities!

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