This is a throwback photograph to 2008 when an official delegation from the Danilov Monastery in Russia (Свято-Данилов монастырь) came to visit Harvard University for a long-awaited ceremony of exchange of bells between the two countries...
We're not going to go into the details of that exchange which showed that the Russian Orthodox church is reclaiming its material and symbolic heritage dispersed abroad by the Russian Revolution; the Danilov Monastery is the siege of the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Rus.
I found a series of photos which I took during that visit - and this is one of them. For me, it was in this case a study on color and volumes. It is also a recording of a display of power certainly as ostentatious clothes in ceremonials are meant to convey.
I remember most personally the thrill it was to see two very different civilisations coming together at Lowell House in particular, communicating across centuries and people's destinies, and attempting to come to an agreement. It felt to me as if two far apart worlds, that of the immense Russian steppes and that of the great American plains had managed to meet in the same room. The energy and vibes were incredible. It was such an optimistic moment. It continues to represent to this day for me a profoundly moving, improbable "frontier" and junction moment of humanity along historic lines - lines which had been cracked sometimes. When two people speak such different languages, and to try to understand each other genuinely in spite of all, is just beautiful.
I hope I'm seeing a symbol of peace here: Russian golds and blacks lit by a Cambridge, MA, USA sun in June of 2008.