Featuring ornate chandeliers, marble walls, bronze columns and intricate mosaics, each station in the Moscow Metro is more spectacular than the other. Canadian photographer David Burdeny spent two weeks shooting the surreal opulence when the magnificent tunnels were empty of commuters.
Trying an entire year to get permission photographing the Moscow subway, Burdeny is the only professional photographer in the world who was allowed shooting these locations emptied of passengers. Built in 1935 while Stalin was in power, the lavish train system was designed as a form of communist propaganda. When walking through the system, the history of the city’s past eighty years manifests itself right before the eyes. The stations range in design, from palatial baroque marble and granite structures to modern iron and glass, revealing the aesthetics ideals, hopes and failures of communist Russia. Purposefully Juxtaposed next to Russia’s finest cultural intuitions, these pictures reveal that these stations were conceived of as more than transitional spaces. Instead, they can be experienced as underground palaces, a deliberate ideological move to glorify the young Soviet country.