Ordinary People - PhMuseum

Ordinary People

Ksenia Kuleshova

2017 - Ongoing

The ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors“ was signed into the Russian federal law by Vladimir Putin in June 2013. This law, also known as the “anti-gay law”, has strengthened the restrictions on the freedom of expression around LGBTQ+ issues that can apply to all categories, from artistic expression to political discussion, and has a serious impact on public debate on important social topics. The constitutional reform bill 2020 bans same-sex marriage, among other changes.

While it's no longer illegal to be gay (the restriction was lifted in 1993), a homophobic atmosphere is still there.

I aim to document the everyday life of LGBTQ+ couples of different ages, make (video-) portraits, and to photograph private and hidden public venues. In my work, I want to discover the ability of ordinary people to enjoy the moment and value the happiness and joy of everyday life despite open homophobia on the television, by politicians in the media and the Russian church. My protagonists still care about not showing their feelings in public but they are courageous enough to show their faces in my story, which makes me very happy.

My work aims at showing to the international community the deeper insight into the Russian LGBTQ+ community, to take steps toward a more tolerant society in Russia, to start discussions and debates. I believe that our world needs other perspectives and solutions. This project is a continuation of my effort to always find something positive even in the worst situations.

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  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 12/08/2018. Maria Krugovaya (left) and Anastasia Vyadro (right) are brushing their teeth in Maria’s flat in Saint Petersburg. They are together for 7 months and plan to start living together soon. Maria Krugovaya (35) from Saint Petersburg is a photographer (sensual portrait, erotica, nude) and openly gay. Anastasia Vyadro (29) from Saratov is a choreographer, dancer and an actor in the immersive show “Faceless”.

  • Russia, Moscow, 11/04/2019. Elena G. (73) in her living-room. She is openly gay and she holds a private archive of LGBTQ+ media issued in Russia from 1990s. The archive can't be found online.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 30/07/2018. Anna Gavrilova (left) and Jane Sytenko (right) on the sofa with Jane’s mother Irina (in the middle). Anna (25) and Jane (30) have recently celebrated a one year dating anniversary. They have a tradition to ask each other if they agree to marry each day at 16:16.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 17/08/2018. The portrait of Maria Krugovaya in her flat in Saint Petersburg. Maria Krugovaya (35) from Saint Petersburg is a photographer (sensual portrait, erotica, nude) and openly gay.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 17/08/2018. Maxim Avdeev (right), Victor Repetsky (middle) and their friend sasha Amplituda (right) are going to the nightclub “Танцплошадка" in Saint Petersburg.
    Maxim Avdeev (25) from Agryz lives in Saint Petersburg for 5,5 years already. He is HR and the Head of hospitality management and quality of service in the “Bekitzer“ bar, an english teacher, a vogue dancer and a model.
    Victor Repetsky (22) from Nakhodka lives in Saint Petersburg for 4 years. He is a professional vogue dancer (House of BONCHINCHE), a dance teacher and a model. Maxim and Victor are openly gays and are together for 8 months.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 29/12/2017. Maxim Avdeev (right) and his ex-boyfriend Artem (left). They are openly gay. Artem moved to USA (New York) in September 2018.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 30/05/2018. Miss Tekila smokes in the gay club “Central Station SPB” after her performance. Alexandr Govorukhin (30) from Montschegorsk has lived in Saint Petersburg for 12 years already. He is a travesti actor (stage name is Miss Tekila) at the “Central Station SPB” gay club, “The Blue Oyster” gay bar and a makeup artist. Alexandr is openly gay.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 12/08/2018. Maria Krugovaya (left) is caressing her girlfriend Anastasia Vyadro (right) who is caressing their cat Sam at the same moment.They are together for 7 months and plan to start living together soon.
    Maria Krugovaya (35) from Saint Petersburg is a photographer (sensual portrait, erotica, nude) and openly gay. Anastasia Vyadro (29) from Saratov is a choreographer, dancer and an actor in the immersive show “Faceless”.

  • Belarus, Minsk, 07/04/2018. Maxim Avdeev (right) and Victor Repetsky (left) take a shower in a rental flat in Minsk. Maxim Avdeev (25) from Agryz has lived in Saint Petersburg for 5,5 years already. He is an actor, an english teacher, a vogue dancer and a model. Victor Repetsky (22) from Nakhodka has lived in Saint Petersburg for 4 years. He is a professional vogue dancer (House of BONCHINCHE), a dance teacher and a model. Maxim and Victor are openly gay and are together for 8 months.

  • Russia, Moscow, 10/04/2019. Alena Zhogol (left, 22) and Katya Rosolovskaya (right, 23) in their flat. They are together for 3 years and are openly gays.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 13/08/2018. Maria Krugovaya and Anastasia Vyadro are cuddling at home. They are together for 7 months and plan to start living together soon.
    Maria Krugovaya (35) from Saint Petersburg is a photographer (sensual portrait, erotica, nude) and open gay. Anastasia Vyadro (29) from Saratov is a choreographer, dancer and an actor in the immersive show “Faceless”.

  • Russia, Moscow, 14/04/2019. Konstantin Prima (28) in his bath tub. He is openly gay. He earns his money by performing as a famous russian singer Alla Pugacheva.

  • Russia, Moscow, 04/08/2019. Yana Alexandrova and Natalia Remizova in the swimming pool. Yana and Natalia got married in Portugal and moved to Barcelona in October 2019.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 17/08/2018. Victor Repetsky and Maxim Avdeev are hugging each other near the nightclub in Saint Petersburg. Maxim Avdeev (25) from Agryz lives in Saint Petersburg for 5,5 years already. He is an actor, an english teacher, a vogue dancer and a model. Victor Repetsky (22) from Nakhodka lives in Saint Petersburg for 4 years. He is a professional vogue dancer (House of BONCHINCHE), a dance teacher and a model. Maxim and Victor are open gays and are together for 8 months.

  • Russia, Moscow, 17/04/2019. Sofia Beridze (21) is a transgender woman. She has both Georgian and Russian nationality. Her Georgian family knows and accepts her identity.

  • Russia, Saint Petersburg, 03/08/2018. Kirill Chkanov (26) hugs his boyfriend Alexandr Govorukhin (30) in Alexandr’s flat in Saint Petersburg.
    Kirill Chkanov (26) from Samara is ABA therapist. He lives in Saint Petersburg for 4 years. His family and friends knows about his homosexuality. Kirill works with children and prefers not to tell their parents that he is gay.
    Alexandr Govorukhin (30) from Montschegorsk lives in Saint Petersburg for 12 years already. He is a travesti actor (stage name Miss Tekila) at the “Central Station SPB” gay club, “The Blue Oyster” gay bar and a makeup artist. Alexandr is openly gay.
    Alexandr and Kirill are together for 4 months.

  • Russia, Obninsk, 22/04/2019. Lisa Kamenskaya (21) in her room. She is openly gay.


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