Vadim, 40, opened Bukovsky, named after the German-American author, in a former Rostov tobacco factory, one of his 11 restaurants. He doesn't plan on stopping there. Vadim plans to open a 12th dedicated to Belgium beer with the dishes corresponding to various beer brands. He says the most difficult thing about running a restaurant is getting through the first 18 months.
Voldemare and Tanya were having a smoke outside their store in Rostov, where they sell clothing and accessories from India and southeast Asia. Voldemare said he got into the business accidentally....During a trip to Asia, he bought a bunch of goods and gave them away to friends when he returned home. Two and a half years later, he opened up the store. One of his customers was Tanya, who stopped in because she liked the bright colors. ''I bought something and we started to talk. We found a lot in common.'' A few weeks after I met them on the street, they flew to Southeast Asia...where they got married.
Polina was sporting dyed red hair, a green jacket, green necklace and green nail polish as she headed home along the Rostov streets with her friends - and a cat - to have tea. Polina said she and her friends have been spending a lot of time at her apartment lately listening to music, talking and drinking tea. A first-year architecture student who works part-time in a cafe, Polina said she is passionate about her studies. ''I love it, it is my favorite activity. I have an unusual teacher and we draw some crazy things.''
He was wearing a NYC winter hat as he walked around Rostov's center with a friend. He asked not to have his face photographed....certain people could see the photo, he said, without going into detail. He called himself a 'Rostov-Don Crocodile' and offered me some bubble gum that he was holding between the fingers of his broken arm. They were both likely high on drugs.
The son of an engineer and doctor, Ivan studied medical engineering as a compromise between his parents' wishes. Yet, he decided to pursue a creative career, first going into design. ''I thought I would save more lives if I didn't do [medical engineering]'' he joked. When he got fired during the 2008 crisis, he used the event to change careers and become a photographer. Seven years later, he runs his own studio and is in demand as a fashion photographer. He is using the latest economic crisis to expand his business into stock photography. One of his photography 'mentors' has been David Hobby, who runs the very popular site www.strobist.com. Ivan said he recently received an email out of the blue from David asking to use one of Ivan's photos for a project. ''I thought, oh my god, this is one of the best days of my life.''
Katya, 14, was sitting with her friend in a McDonald's in the center of Rostov wearing a 'Bronx' winter hat. The 8th grader said she loves psychology, photography and dogs, of which she has two. Katya said she hasn't traveled yet outside of Russia, but ''I hope when I grow up, I will be able to travel and enjoy life.''
He was walking in the center of Rostov with a shirt that read ''Fucking Sports.'' ''It's my style - a mix of classic, street style and hiphop.'' He said he wants to open a small bar someday.
Margo (holding bag) and Milana were eating McDonald's on the street in Rostov as they leaned against a street underpass staircase. Margo, who runs the hurdles, shouted with pride ''We are from Samara!'' as they were photographed.
Timur, 20, works at a top Rostov restaurant that also separately sells high-quality produce, such as meats and cheeses. Describing himself as someone that loves to cook for friends, Timur said he dreams of opening a restaurant some day and supplying it with food from his own farm. ''There are no farmers in my family, but I still fell in love with produce because it is something that you need to care for to grow. I want to dedicate my life to this.'' Timur is probably the first person in Russia I have photographed for my project that wants to own and develop a farm. He couldn't have chosen a better time - Russia imported about $45 billion of food in 2013, most of which could have been produced in Russia where there the desire and investment. But the sharp drop in the ruble makes foreign food supplies twice as expensive and thus makes investment in Russian agriculture attractive now.
ROSTOV: Stepan was repairing bicycles in the basement of a shop in Rostov on a Saturday afternoon. He said he lives in an old mining town about 80km from Rostov, so he sleeps at the shop so as not to make the long commute every day. Stepan said he learned about the shop when he took part in a Rostov city bike ride. He started to hang out there, met the other guys and landed a job. He said that bicycling is becoming more popular in Rostov and hoped the city would improve the infrasructure.