Concrete Citizens by Alex Schoelcher


Concrete Citizens is an ongoing photographic examination of iconic Brutalist apartment complexes in former Soviet states, and the people who continue to inhabit them.

Revered by enthusiasts for its utilitarian yet dystopian qualities, this often divisive architectural style emblematises the homogenous Soviet vision that stretched from the mountainous Balkans all the way to the steppes of Central Asia.

Concrete Citizens aims to offer a counterpoint to this ongoing fascination. Through his series of portraits shot inside buildings in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, Schoelcher hopes to provide the viewer with an intimate insight into the lives led within these monolithic structures. More broadly, the series explores ways in which relics of the Soviet Union are often fetishized by contemporary Western culture, overshadowing the stories and experiences of those who survived and continue to live in the wake of the Soviet regime.

The body of work, shot across two summers between 2018 and 2019, intends to transcend the impersonality that often characterises the documentation of similar buildings across the former Eastern - Bloc by shining a light on the humanity that exists within.