St. Petersburg: Lesha, a 3rd year music student in St. Peterburg, was waiting for friends at the airport dressed in an USA print t-shirt. Lesha grew up in Novosibirsk, Siberia's largest city, and took to music at an early age. Lesha, who enjoys pop, rock, jazz and classical, prefers playing the piano.
St. Petersburg: Barbershops have been spreading around Russia like mushrooms after a rainstorm. Since the first 'old school' barbershop opened in Moscow in 2011, several hundred have appeared in dozens of major cities around Russia. Sasha, 30, has been working the last two years at Headbusters, which has two locations in the center of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg: You can figure out Olga's job by looking at her legs. Covered in tattoos, including a matryoshka, Olga is one of the growing number of female tattoo masters in Russia's cultural capital of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg: As I passed these two women early one summer Saturday morning in St. Petersburg, I noticed one of them had a bird's feather sticking out of her hair like you see in drawings of American indians. The woman said she saw the feather on the street as she was walking and decided to put in her hair. When I asked how she came up with the idea, she said The Last of the Mohicans was one of her favorite books while growing up.
St. Petersburg: Just 19, she recently moved to St. Petersburg from Kazan to find herself. Living with friends for the time being, she has taken a job as a waitress to make her rent payments. She said she is not sure what she wants to do, but sometimes dreams of being an actress.
St. Petersburg: Konstantin, early 30s, was sitting with his friend on a bench near Palace Square in St. Petersburg just before sunset. Konstantin said he works in the construction industry and dreams of building his own boutique hotel in the cultural capital. But not just any hotel...Konstantin says he wants one that rotates. When I asked if that is even possible, he said he still has to figure out how the plumping would work in such a building.
Novokuznetsk: As I have written several times, one of the most noticeable visible changes around Russia in recent years is the number of people sporting tattoos...and not just one or two, but many. The demand has, not surprisingly, given rise to more tattoo salons. Alexander, who lives in the steel town of Novokuznetsk, recently opened a tattoo salon above a barbershop after getting a tattoo himself. Alexander recently expanded to Novosibirsk, which is located a few hours car ride away.
Novokuznetsk: Evgeny took up breakdancing early in his youth in Novokuznetsk, a steel-making town, and traveled for competitions. He later moved to St. Petersburg, working as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant. When the restaurant owner saw Evgeny's dancing skills, he sent the Siberian native to China to dance at his Russian restaurant in Beijing. Now back in his hometown, Evgeny is teaching dance at a health club while trying to start his own business.
NOVOSIBIRSK: Tikhon was walking home from his grandmother's home during a snowstorm in Novosibirsk. The teenager said he regularly visits his grandmother at her home, about once every two weeks. On this occasion, they played a game. Though university is still several years away, Tikhon said he would like to become an engineer with a focus on aviation.