The Middle Way

Project “The Middle Way” consists of photographs taken on 6×7 medium format film. It is a special compilation that was collected from various pilgrimages and secular expeditions around remote corners of Russia. A search for my own path during the multitude of travels, prayers and practices, has exposed and, in some incredible way, transformed my own feelings. Imagery, displayed to the viewer in these photographs, tell a story of a state of being that the author was experiencing at the time. Amazing stories, divine providence and miracles took place every time I planned my route through the hard to reach places, or planned a visit and cooperation with cenobites of active monasteries and sketes, with keepers of ancient temples. Partaking in the way of life of modern hermits from the closed communities, and constantly communicating with residents of these remote places, my mind steadily immersed itself in their way of thinking and narrative. All characters of my stories: wise sages, humble monks, soulful priests, devout women, novitiate girls, layman pilgrims, and multitude of children, all of them, in one way or another, are shown to be in the state of a orthodox paradigm. The author himself is not an exception — almost getting ordained and accepting a monkhood, he, however, received permission to take pictures, and became a photographer instead. Following traditions and religious doctrines without becoming backward and fanatical, aspiring to have a simple and benevolent relationship with evening that is living, thinking and striving for love — this is the underlying message of the project and the author’s middle way.

Misha Maslennikov