These haunting, hybrid images of past and present St Petersburg – formerly known as Leningrad – are the works of Sergei Larenkov. After studying old images of the city, Larenkov visited the same spots, capturing them on film. He then digitally superimposed the old image over new, producing these eerie and thought-provoking shots.
Like ghosts captured forever on film the scenes depict all too clearly a harshness that can result only from times of war. The 900-day Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade, lasted from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944 – just over 65 years ago – and was “one of the longest and most destructive sieges of major cities in modern history, and second most costly,” according to Wikipedia sources.
English Russia had a bit more to say:
“During nine hundred (!) days a few million people in the city of Leningrad suffered from cold and hunger, being deprived of almost all supplies of food and fuel. Many thousands died, those who survived remember this not very willingly. The situation with food was so heavy, no food was sold/distributed among people except a few grams (not even tens or hundred grams) of bread, and not each day, that people had to eat stuff that they would never eat in normal life, like making soups of leather boots (because leather is of animal origin) or boiling the wallpaper because the glue with which they were attached to walls contained a bit of organic stuff. Of course many occasions of cannibalism occurred.”
Although the blend of the two images seems natural, it’s hard not to ignore the colorful boundary of the present and focus totally on the black and white scene of the past. Each image demands the viewer to stop and contemplate what life must have been like in Leningrad during WWII. The difference between life now and then in these moving images is distinct, and deserves the attention of an undoubtedly more privileged audience.
Visit English Russia to see more amazing images by Sergei Larenkov.