Fan Club Putin A photography project by Bela Doka

Fan Club Putin by Bela Doka:

In the suburbs of Moscow, a group of fresh-faced students wearing bright orange t-shirts can claim to be part of one of the world’s most unusual appreciation societies.

Since the members of this club have an average age of 18, it would be reasonable to imagine the object of their devotion to be a boy band or a hot new film star. But no, the 1,500 members of the “VV Fan Club” have a more heavyweight idol—the Russian president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

The teenage members of the VV Putin fan club idolize their president as a savior. In their eyes, he is far away from the growing threat to democracy and global stability as many (both inside and outside Russia) portray him.

Many of the female members of the group venerate this clean-living, strong and strangely handsome president as a father figure—or even as an ideal husband.

“He is the perfect politician, sportsman and family man!” gushes Vika Matorina, 18.

I spent 2 weeks with the VV fan club and was surprised by the level of support for Putin, whose image appears on posters above the student’s beds, on badges, and superimposed over the Russian tricolore hanging next to makeshift shrines.

They spend hours chatting on the internet about their hero and even go to university wearing Putin T-shirts. I was really shocked at how they could feel such intense love for him.

– Discover more of Bela’s work here: Bela Doka

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
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2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


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