Russia seemed old and un-modern to me in 1983-4 and I liked that. It got me in the frame of mind to portray in photographs the life of Leo Tolstoy. The idea was to symbolize his life and work, building on whatever remains of the physical world he knew.
It turns out quite a bit of that world remains. In a very devoted way Russians have, for more than a century, preserved his homes as shrines and his artifacts as national treasures.The feeling of ‘devoted respect’ to Tolstoy is widespread in the lives of Russians.
That is nowhere truer than at his home, Yasnaya Polyana,120 miles south of Moscow. Visitors to his large estate tour his house and walk the paths he walked. One of these paths leads to his grave. Around the grave Russians are asked to respect a ‘zone of silence’. I never heard a word spoken.