June 12, 2016 @ 18:59 EST

Dear Anton,

At the base of the columns of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russian boys and girls lingered and flirted, while elderly women in long skirts exited the heavy wooden doors of the nave after prayer. That cathedral, if you’ve never been, spreads its columned arms along Nevsky Prospekt, the heart of the city. It is modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Peter the Great inherited the name; hence the city. Of course, it is Moscow rather than St. Petersburg that claims the status of the Third Rome, the Orthodox heir. All these millennial aspirants, with visions of eternal empire. 

Between the stone column and a child’s wave. Between the concrete blast barrier and a dog’s shadow. The former establishes structure and requires obedience. The latter diverts the eye and requests a response. Of these options, I tell myself that I prefer the ephemeral gesture to the enduring commitment. Though you might argue that both stone and flesh are fleeting and it is only scale that distinguishes them. In any case, I wonder, despite my partiality for closing eyes, the drawing of curtains, or the sweeping of brooms, why I continue to send you images of brick walls, concrete bollards, and granite pillars? 

#image_by_image is an ongoing conversation between photographers Ivan Sigal and Anton Kusters.
@ivansigal @antonkusters on Instagram