Max Sher


“Would you describe our courtyard, how it looked like back then, so many years ago. I would say it was rather a dump of a courtyard. There were scraggly linden trees, two or three garages and behind them – piles of broken bricks and waste like that. But more importantly, there were old gas stoves scattered around, about three or four hundred of them, they had been brought in here from the neighbouring houses soon after the war. Our courtyard smelled like kitchen because of them. When we were opening their ovens, the oven doors, they creaked awfully. What were we opening those doors for? Why? It’s strange that you don’t understand that. We were opening them only to slam them back shut“. – Sasha Sokolov

“If anybody asks you, tell them I went to America”. – Dostoevsky

The idea of the title was taken from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment – one of the characters, before shooting himself, says to the person present at the scene: ‘If anybody asks you tell them I went to America”. In Russian literature, the imaginary celestial ‘Amerika‘ is synonymous with escape, nothingness, imagination, ’emigration’ from life into the supersensual world of ideas and imagery.

The longer epigraph is a fragment from the Russian author Sasha Sokolov’s book ‘A School for Fools’ – a novel with no storyline but full of magnificent imagery which works in its own right.


MAX SHER was born in St. Petersburg, raised in Siberia and educated in both Siberia and France. Max took up photography in 2006. Since then, his work (personal and commissioned) has appeared in Courrier International, Monocle, Esquire (Russia), le Monde, Libération, Ogoniok, Independent Magazine, Afisha, Bolshoi Gorod, Russian Reporter, Snob, GEO Traveler, Foto8, Private, Newsweek Japan and has been exhibited in St.Petersburg, Vienna, Moscow and Bratislava to name a few. Max was nominated for the KLM Paul Huf Awards in 2008. He is currently based in Moscow, Russia.

View more of Max’s work at his website