Love in a Cold Climate: Saint Petersburg
This week I am sharing a few photos which I took during four days in Saint Petersburg. I have borrowed the title from Nancy Mitford who wrote the novel “Love in a Cold Climate” – first published in 1949 (incidently one of my favourite books).
Were these guys fishing or taking some measurements under the ice? Whatever they were doing, it was a freezing spot to be doing it. I was impressed! (It is like a Russian version of L.S Lowry’s bleak landscapes.)
I did a double-take when I noticed these tiny figures were Moomintrolls (characters from the books by Tove Jansson). I’m afraid the Moomintroll lady wasn’t attracting any business. I might have bought one except that my pockets were empty. You see, I had spontaneously rushed out of my hotel to get snow photos. Visitors are always supposed to have their passports on them when in Russia yet I had nothing but my Nikon. This was on Saint Petersburg’s main shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt. I like the fact that there are snowflake motifs on the counter – and it is snowing.
‘View down a side alley’ makes me think of communist propaganda art of last century. The writing on the banner sets the scene. The old man, while watching his step, did not notice me photographing him. I was also watching my step; trying to take a photo in a hurry without falling over on the ice.
When I was visiting The State Hermitage Museum (which had been one of the palaces of Catherine the Great) my attention was divided between the art treasures inside and the views of the frozen river outside. I took several photos where I focussed on the glass itself so that the view outside was abstracted.
The proper name of Church on Spilled Blood is ‘The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ’. It was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Finished in 1907, its future was not bright and it was used to store vegetables during world war II and mockingly referred to as ‘Saviour of Potatoes’. It was left to ruination however in the past few decades it has been restored to its former glory. It functions as a museum nowadays. The normally brilliant colours of the exterior have been completely muted and softened by the falling snow.
While I stood on one bank of the frozen canal leading to the Church on Spilled Blood, I noticed this couple on the opposite bank. It looked like they had just got married and were posing for photos in front of the church. I couldn’t resist taking my own photo of them. Being at a distance, they were oblivious to me. As they were small in my lens, I could not see what I had captured until I got back to Australia and transferred my photos to computer. Then I saw it. I had caught two people utterly absorbed in one another.
Don’t they look like an attraction of opposites? She is fair haired and engulfed in white -while he, darkly handsome, dresses in black. I surmise that she is an extrovert – (she loves to talk) – while he is an introvert (he listens to her stories). How Slavonic they look! This is, surely, Love in a Cold Climate.
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