Russian Prison Series was inspired by my experience of studying and listening to personal stories of incarcerated teenagers (14-21 year-old boys) at Lebedeva and Kolpino prisons in St. Petersburg, Russia. Many of the boys became the victims of the economic chaos that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union; these kids either grew up on the streets or came from highly dysfunctional families. I spent a year getting to know these people, their stories, and their personal histories. In retrospect, I started thinking of how we, as a society, label these kids: criminals, convicts, crooks, felons, villains, sinners. What we fail to see are the reasons, the incentives for those kids to commit the crimes. I am exploring eternal concepts of saintliness, sins, holiness, and martyrdom. For this purpose, I have constructed a visual language where the traditional black and white photographic imagery is mixed with the painted iconographic and symbolic elements of Russian Christian Orthodox culture thus allowing the intricate and quintessentially Russian elements to assume an avant-garde design.