Anna Shustikova is an accomplished documentary photographer whose work has grabbed much international attention and won her the Royal Photographic Society’s under-30s Gold Award. With a passion for capturing the lives of ordinary people from various walks of life, ethnicities and religions, she has documented the world of Russian weddings, showing centuries of tradition, costumes and rituals amidst the contemporary style of Russia’s young love birds.
Her images explore the traditional weddings in Russian gypsy communities, where they are regarded as just as important as Christmas or Easter. Many of the young gypsy girls wear white dresses, like little brides, and it is common for boys and girls to marry at the age of 13 or 14. She explores Mari weddings, showing women in traditional dress praying and singing old songs. Images of Russian weddings show the groom participating in the ‘vikup’, which translates to ‘ransom’, a custom where he must pass various tests and competitions, often involving money.
Shustikova’s captivating wedding shots are part of the Royal Photographic Society’s prestigious exhibition and can be seen at the Royal Albert Hall, London during performances and on select open days until December 11, 2016.