Chiara De Franciscis
Chiara de Franciscis: VDNKh, pronounced “vedeenkha”, is a trade show and amusement park located in the north of Moscow featuring more than 250 Soviet-era palaces and pavilions, numerous fountains, the Vostok rocket and the Space Pavilion. The park is better known by the moscovites under the acronym VDNKh which stands for Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnovo Khozyaystva (Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy).
The book VDNKh depicts images of the buildings, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space together with a series of portraits of people visiting an exhibition of wax statues coming from the Wax Museum in Saint Petersburg and shown at the VDNKh.
The eerie photographs depicts the visitors posing with the statues of the likes of Catherine II, Stalin, Hitler and Ivan the Terrible, together with a series of strange characters including winged women and a two headed man.
The images reveal a disturbing and at times ironic contrast between who looks real and who looks fake, which ones are the statues and which ones the visitors. A special mention goes to a dusty and haggard version of Chewbacca gracing the book cover.
Chiara De Franciscis studied photography at The London College of Communication and has shot numerous projects in different countries around the world. Her work has been exhibited internationally in London, Milan, Edinburgh and Los Angeles. You can buy her books – including VDNKh! – here.