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Snowy Moscow

Yakimanskaya embarkment.

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Red October Factory.

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Muzeon park of arts is a unique open air museum of sculpture.

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Gorky Park.

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MSU Botanical Garden.

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Tropical winter in Moscow botanical garden.

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Krymsky Bridge.

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World Clock Fountain in the Manege Square.

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St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square.

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Christmas mood in London!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in London. Beautiful sparkling lights have been switched almost on every street.

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Christmas is officially begun in Leicester square as city’s festive and cozy market offering everything from gifts to tasty treats. It’s easy to feel Christmas and New Year mood while visiting this nice market. By the way, William Shakespeare is celebrating Christmas with everyone else there!

Carnaby street looks like exotic tropical garden this year!

Covent Garden market. 

House of MinaLima celebrates Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima graphic works for Harry Potter franchise as well as their own creations. It is a combination of a beautiful and interesting gallery and store which looks so cozy and Christmassy nowadays.

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Skating rink at the Tower of London looks very impressive. It is located exactly where a moat used to be centuries ago!

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Tower Bridge.

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Another great and unusual place for a skating rink! This is Sommerset House, a large and magnificent Neoclassical building which is home for arts and learning and a popular film location.

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Beautiful streets of London.

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Colorful and crowded Portobello market with a great amount of vintage shops. The most famous one is Alice’s or Mr.Gruber’s if you like Paddington Bear movies. 😊

Cute Paddington Bear is sitting on the railway platform under the large station clock where Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met him! 🐻😊

There are also many P.B. installations around the city, which are dedicated to the new movie out in November! For example, in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

And in front of the O2 arena.

The final picture shows true London classics: Trafalgar square which is surrounded by a lot of red buses.

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Golden Autumn in Moscow

Welcome to the traditional Moscow festival called Golden Autumn! The main event of the festival was a huge gastronomic fair which took place in the different parts of the city. The main venues of the festival included Manege, Revolution Square and Kuznetskiy Most street.

Beautiful and colorful installations from pumpkins, other vegetables and hay appeared on Manege Square. It was very unusual to see a combination of vegetables and historical buildings, museums near Red Square and by the Kremlin Walls. About 25’000 pumpkins were used to decorate Moscow!

But the most surprising part was to see an installation “Artificial wave” for flowboarding which was built just in front of Kremlin Walls.

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A very cozy market took place on the Revolution square. Farms from 40 Russian regions presented their products, including meat, cheese, fish, fruits and vegetables. A market was decorated nicely too.

Even gloomy and rainy weather could not ruin the impressions. Especially when you see a piano just in the middle of the square 😊

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Kuznetskiy Most street was decorated as a fish market with lighthouses.

Autumn is a beautiful season itself but when the whole city is full of pumpkins it becomes even more spectacular!

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Exploring the city of Chicago

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. I think it is necessary to leave all famous tourist places and see different ethnic and cultural corners of the city. The architecture, restaurants, museums of every neighborhood are different. I was lucky to explore the city with my friend and my photography mentor Paul Natkin who knows all the greatest places in Chicago! Many thanks to Paul for all the amazing moments and for making that trip unforgettable!

Chicago is known as a home of the blues. So many places here are connected with the blues history. For example, you can visit Muddy Waters house where he lived and played blues from 1954 to 1974. Actually it is only possible to see the house from outside not entering the building. That Red X on the house means that building is unsafe to enter. It is really sad and disappointing that the house of an international music icon was just left to deteriorate. But hopefully someone can buy this historical house and turn it to a museum dedicated to Muddy Waters great heritage.

Pilsen neighborhood is one of the most recognizable and well known places in the city of Chicago. It is easy to find a piece of public art adorning a façade in nearly every block. The neighborhood looks very colorful but what is more important, every piece of art has its own deep meaning mostly connected with serious political or ethnic problems.

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Here is mural which impressed me the most. It is honoring an aspiring musician and an artist Jeff Macdonaldo Jr. who was killed at the age of 19 as a victim of mistaken identity. He had never been in a gang, he was just getting back from his barber and someone opened a fire. The mural was his friends’ idea, he was an inspiration for them and did many good things so they wanted to give back to his family, helping his parents to get through the worst times. The mural dedicated to peace and tolerance, and called Safe places. It looks really beautiful. World could be a much better place if people have more opportunities to develop their art skills instead of hating each other for some unknown reasons.

There is also a great museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen neighborhood. It is responsible for presenting exhibitions of artistic, cultural and educational value, which demonstrates the unique depth of Mexican art and history. It was really amazing to see many kids visiting museum with their parents. Art is a bridge between communities and it helps to expand minds, which is really necessary for the world we are living in nowadays.

The DuSable Museum of African American history is dedicated to study and conversation of African American history and culture. It is one of the oldest museums dedicated to this topic in the United States. It was founded in 1961 and has been expanding ever since. The museum has a collection of more than15’000 artifacts, books, photographs, paintings, art objects and memorabilia. DuSable museum became a large part of black social activism, hosting festivals, political and community events.

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The exhibitions there are really great and very informative. Actually some parts of exhibitions dedicated to slavery and further segregation horrified me. Of course, everyone knows those terrible moments and events in the American history but seeing all those pictures and artefacts was still very difficult. I can never understand how it is possible to divide people by the color of their skin or their nationality. The saddest part of all this is to realize that we still face the same problems nowadays. The technologies are developing every day, but seems that some people’s minds just stuck with their stereotypes forever.

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Paul Natkin enjoying some art while I’m working as paparazzi 🙂

The museum is surrounded by very beautiful park where we met a group of nice kids who were just running around and enjoying nice summer day. We also met some of their parents and a teacher who told us that those kids were studying history and other subjects by exploring art objects, paintings etc which made the studying process much more interesting. It is great that some organizations are volunteering to help kids to get better future, enter good colleges etc. And it was really heartwarming to see black and white kids playing together not knowing anything about those stupid stereotypes. Hope they will be smart enough to overcome all stereotypes in the future.

I also tried Southern-style soul food for the first time which was really delicious! Pearl’s Place is located in Bronzeville and offers a unique experience combining tasty home-style food with the great service. With photographs of African American jazz legends covering the walls inside and outside the restaurant, you are reminded of Bronzeville’s complex and powerful history.

The Museum of Science and Industry was another great and interesting experience! The main mission of the museum is to build public understanding of science, show how science impacts our society and inspire everyone to think critically about world around us. Exhibitions that cover many important topics are very spectacular and interesting for adults and kids.

Chicago is a great city and it is easy to find something that you enjoy there. If you are interested in photography, “The Photographer’s Curator: Hugh Edwards at the Art Institute of Chicago” exhibition is a must see. It is really an amazing experience which makes you understand what the real outstanding photography is. The exhibition is bringing together nearly 200 photographs by more than 70 artists whose works are held in the permanent collection. Some pictures from the collection are available here: http://media.artic.edu/edwards/.

Here are some more pictures (http://robertnatkin.net/) which are really mind blowing and should be presented on any exhibition dedicated to photography and history. It is easy to spend all day looking at those pictures, which are different from each other, but all of them are really beautiful, meaningful and very inspiring!

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Beautiful London

London is an amazingly beautiful city with so many historical sights! It can’t be boring to come back there again and again and explore new hidden places or cozy streets or even the most famous sights.

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Victoria embarkment and purple sky

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London Eye Pier

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Great architecture of cozy London streets

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Greenwich Park

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St. Pancras Railway Station

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Spring in the city of music, Vienna!

Vienna in spring is something amazing, with all those flowers and trees blooming around!

Vienna is the city of music, music is literally in the air, many famous composers lived here, and nowadays you can find many concert halls, operettas, music museums everywhere in the city. One of the most famous musical genius of all time Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart spent his successful and creative years in Vienna. You can follow his footsteps, for example visit Schonbrunn Palace where he used to perform as a kid or the gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral where he got married in 1782. Also it’s worth seeing the Mozarthaus, an impressive museum that includes Amadeus’ original apartment.

One of the most famous Mozart memorials is located in Burggarten.

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Vienna is also famous to be a point of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life for more than 35 years. Firstly he traveled to Vienna to study under Mozart. His house where he lived between 1804 and 1815 has a very spectacular view of the University and the Ringstrasse boulevard. There are also several monuments of Beethoven around the city, but in my opinion the most beautiful one is located on Beethovenplatz, opposite the Wiener Konzerthaus.

You can find monuments of other legendary composers in “Unsere Garten” in Vienna, this place really makes you feel the music vibes of the city.

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Franz Schubert
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The colorful and unusual Hundertwasser House in Vienna is one of the main architectural highlights in Austria. The house was designed by Fredensreuch Hundertwasse between 1983 and 1985 and is known as an extraordinary building and a green oasis in the city with more than 200 trees on the balconies. I was so impressed by this building, it looks like a house from a fairytale where all dreams come true. “Art doesn’t reflect the visible, it makes it visible”. © Paul Klee. The Hunderwasser Village is located right opposite the Hunderwasserhaus and consists of a shopping center, a bar and a village square in the typical Hunderwasser style. This place is absolutely worth seeing.

If you want to visit some traditional Viennese places of interest you can’t miss Schonbrunn Palace, which was the former summer residence of the imperial family. This baroque complex contains a big beautiful park, the Palm House (which was opened in 1882), the Gloriette, a zoo and a Palace itself.

Another place which is impossible to miss while staying in Vienna is Stephansdom gothic cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world which is located on the Stephansplatz (geographical centre of Vienna). Breathtaking view!

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The National History Museum

My next stop was Hofburg Palace which is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna. It was built in 13th century and expanded in the centuries. Until 1918, the Hofburg was the center of the gigantic Habsburg empire. And today, it is the official seat of the Austrian President.

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One of the most famous Vienna’s addresses is probably Berggasse 19 where Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis, lived for 47 years. The former apartment is now a museum, which shows the original furniture, selection of Freud’s private collection of antiques etc.

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Vienna is not only a cultural and historical centre but also a very cosy and beautiful city full of great monuments, universities and green parks.

You should also try some traditional Austrian dishes, which include Wiener Schnitzel, potato salad, Apfelstrudel, Sachertorte, different types of chocolate and coffee (Melange becomes my favorite drink even if I’m not a fan of coffee). Every dish that I tried looked and tasted really good.

And finally! I can’t miss vinyl shopping anywhere I’m travelling to! Vienna is a good place for music shopping, you can find many shops selling different kinds of old and new vinyls. My favorite shop is Scout Records which is located on Capistrangasse, 3, found there some great LPs of Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale and Jon Lord.

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Sweet home Chicago

Chicago is the city of amazing music, great people, breathtaking views, beautiful museums, parks and delicious food. Even if it’s cold and foggy in January sometimes, you can still fully enjoy the city exploring its major touristic places or streets of neighborhoods. I think everyone can find something interesting in this Windy city.

Chicago was and still is a sweet home for blues, that’s why I spent most of the time listening to my favorite music, shooting concerts, and what is the most valuable for me, learning photography from the greatest photographer and the nicest person Paul Natkin who made this trip absolutely unforgettable.