Curator Liza Factor about the project
Nikita Shokhov was born in 1988 in Kamensk-Uralski, in the heart of Russia. Realizing that he was more interested in the cinema and photography than in his law studies at the university in Ekaterinburg, he took some relevant courses while still managing to get his degree. He then went on to the Sverdlov Film Studio in Ekaterinburg and the Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia in Moscow, where he now lives and works. In 2014 he was awarded third prize in the World Press Photo Portraits section.
Held every year from 3–8 June, the Procession of the Cross in Velikoretsk is Russia's oldest pilgrimage. Running from the city of Kirov to the banks of the Velikaia river, where an icon of Saint Nicholas was discovered centuries ago, it annually attracts some 30,000 pilgrims from all over the country. The first time Nikita Shokhov attended, in 2012, Vladimir Putin had just been elected for the third time: the rehabilitation of Soviet ideology and the Church, Russia's two historically opposed power players, was under way. Over the next two years he noted that religious conservatism – six hundred years of Orthodox tradition – did not seem to exclude such ultimately capitalist gadgetry as digital cameras, smartphones, tablets and high-tech hiking gear. At the same time he did not fail to spot the faithful's scepticism towards a church whose leaders are overtly colluding with the government and whose clergy are notoriously corrupt. He frequently worked with a hidden camera as a way of protecting his critical stance; nonetheless, he retains a deep respect for his country's history and culture.
Original text on Photoquai