12 photos of St. Petersburg, the world’s most melancholy city

Viktor Balaguer
Russia’s northern capital through the lens of French photographer Viktor Balaguer.

1. “I do street photography. I take my camera and walk the streets of St. Petersburg.”

2. Architect Viktor Balaguer, 31, lives in St. Petersburg but urban photography is his true passion.

3. His Instagram account viktor_balaguer is packed full of views of the city. “I first came to St. Petersburg in 2011. Since then I have fallen in love with the place.”

4. “I started my Instagram page because I love photography and wanted to show my own vision of this city. The vision of a foreigner can be different to the perspective of a local.”

5. Balaguer’s photos give the impression that the weather in Russia’s northern capital is freezing all year round. “My favorite season is winter. I love the mood of winter together with the city and canals when they’re totally frozen. For me it's very beautiful and very different to Paris.”

6. “This city is very melancholy but the locals are not sad or bored. It’s very poetic to see old people walking alone near the canals or the river.”

7. Balaguer says he would like to make Dostoyevsky’s White Nights novel (about a lonely man who falls in love with a young woman) into a film to highlight St. Petersburg’s unique atmosphere. “The story and the city go well together,” he says.

8. He doesn’t plan anything when taking photos, he simply walks around the city and if something takes his fancy he snaps it.

9. He edits all his pictures using the Lightroom app but never uses Photoshop.

10. The photographer puts his lens right up against the windows of retro cars he passes on the street to give the impression he’s inside each vehicle.

11. “I would love to make an exhibition with all my photos,” says the Frenchman.

12. “I would like to share my vision of the city with the people who live here. I really appreciate it when locals like my photos, it's very important to me.”

Click here to read why Moscow and St. Petersburg are not Russia.

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