The big picture: life's a picnic on the banks of the River Moscow…

Frank Herfort’s pictures of post-Soviet Russia capture absurd contrasts between the state’s ambitions and ordinary life Frank Herfort, a German photographer, has been working on a series of pictures he calls “Russian fairytales” for the past 15 years. He grew up in Leipzig and spent his childhood under communism, then his teens, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, under capitalism; he was fascinated to see familiar streetscapes colonised by advertising hoardings. His career has reflected that dichotomy. He has worked as a commercial photographer to fund an enduring fascination with the post-Soviet atmospheres of the east. When fellow art students relocated to London or Berlin after graduating, he settled in Moscow and began making photographs of the city’s interiors, taking his Hasselblad camera into waiting rooms and tiled hotel lobbies and curious bars, alive to juxtaposition and surreal comedy. This picture was taken in the meadows on the banks of the River Moscow, on the fringe of the 850th anniversary