When the photographer ANNA SKLADMANN returned to her parents’ homeland, Russia, she discovered a generation of privileged, sophisticated children. She thought of them as little adults, and has devoted a book to shooting what will become the next generation of Russia’s economic rulers. We publish some of her images from “Little Adults” on these pages, and Skladmann speaks about her experiences to LUX below
LUX Why did you decide to shoot these very privileged children?
AS I was born in Germany to Russian parents. The first time I came to Russia was for the millennium where I accompanied my parents to a masquerade ball. At that event there was a table with children who held themselves, talked and behaved in the manner of Little Adults. Even though I was very young, these images never left my memory.
LUX Did anything strike you about them in general?
AS I started working on the project while graduating from university (Parsons School Of Design in New York) and finished the project two years later. I, as a visual artist and photographer, grew up and shaped myself with these children. They taught me many things and motivated me. My plan is to rephotograph them 10 years from the time the project was finished.
LUX Who was the most interesting?
AS All of them had their interesting facets and stories but there were a couple of striking surprises. For example with Jakob (‘Jakob Shooting at Ballerinas’, Moscow, 2009) I had a planned photoshoot with his sister who was fourteen at that time. She was very ahead of her age and I started to realise that she was actually “too mature” for my project. After the shoot we sat down for tea and she started to show me around the house and in one of the rooms sat Jakob, her younger brother. He was sitting on his bed casually shooting at ballerinas on the TV screen with a Kalashnikov. The Cultural Channel was playing on TV because his grandmother turned it on a few minutes before.
What was the most compelling part of this project?
AS Again, every part of the project had its own appeal. Starting from the simple act of photographing Nastia, my muse for this project, to generating the idea and up to its realisation. Every single chapter and story has shaped my critical and creative thinking. It was the nature of these children which evoked such a desire to create, perfect, and bring this project to life.