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As I was walking to my friend Sascha's apartment one afternoon, which is in the big building on the left side of the street with the tower, these cars sped past me on Izmailovskij Prospekt near Trinity Cathedral and kicked up the most phenominal cloud of gritty yellow dust. As I ran out into the street to snap the shot the dust got in my mouth and eyes a little...one of the realities of springtime in Saint Pete! Thankfully, city officials in Russia's biggest cities have stopped using caustic and poisonous chemicals to melt ice and snow in the winter, but in their place is dirt applied in heavy layers to reduce slip. When the snow melts in the spring it is all left behind, blowing in great clouds in the slightest breeze or as traffic whips it up. Besides the unavoidable grit in your teeth after an afternoon in the streets, the effect of this dust can be charming, rendering city vistas in the diffuse haze of a 19th century daguerreotype.

This is one of my favourite shots of Saint Pete that I took during my whole four months there, because I think it captures the look and feel of the city better than my other, more touristy photos of famous architectural points. Saint Petersburg is in different glances, like many places in Russia, one of the most beautiful and ugly places you can imagine. Amid the fabulous relics of 18th and 19th century architecture it is a gritty, polluted metropolis. This insane combination is intriguing, and the reason why I love the city so much!

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Additional Photos by Mathew Dodson (Roussillon) Silver Note Writer [C: 3 W: 0 N: 34] (192)
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