Karat “Sky over St. Petersburg”
After years of change and decline, St. Petersburg celebrated its 300th anniversary by renovating its historical center to display its stunning churches, museums and palaces. But the image thus presented is in stark contrast to the poverty found not far away in the backyards of the Nevskij Prospect (the main shopping street) and behind the huge advertising boards that conceal empty lots. Here, littered with syringes, is the entrance to a different world. Wolfgang Müllers photographs tell the stories of children and youths who live above the citys streets, in the roofs and attics of disused buildings. Here they can sleep, take drugs and make money from prostitution without being apprehended. Many have escaped from apathetic parents or decaying orphanages, but the desolation of their situation is tempered with the warmth of the small family units they have formed. Müller spent nine months in St. Petersburg, photographing and talking to the young people living on the streets. Karat is the brand name of a shoe polish, containing solvents, that many of them inhale.
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