A photograph is the best witness of time. It is a type of art which is able to "stop an instant". Through the objective of the camera, artist Natalia Nosova is able illustrate what minutes, hours and years do to people and architectural spaces. In Noginsk's retirement house for invalids Natalia made a series of portraits of its inhabitants:

Having looked at women living there I decided to compare lines on their palms given at birth with faces, lines and wrinkles left by their lifetime. It is a black and white film that emphasised the history of these once happy and now forgotten people. Time inevitably moves forward sparing no one. It is necessary to think about old age but not to be afraid of it. After the shoot I understood that my heroines possess wisdom and strength which will not allow them to disappear from the flow of life. They have left a trace and will always look into the individuals' eyes wherever the exhibition takes place.

In Baku Natalia Nosova's camera "discovered" a forgotten restaurant which during the Soviet time was part of a Recreation Park. The Stalin architecture with high ceilings, marble reliefs, and the remains of the carpets turned into a place for homeless people and animals.

During the 1990s someone had the idea of turning this place into a Muslim cemetery, showing respect to the dead, but having ignored what the previous generation had created. Time passed but the gratefulness and grandness of the place remained. When I stepped over the ruined doorstep and saw those walls I was breathless. Their original beauty did not appear miserable to me. In my photographs I have tried to portray the feel of time passing by, but leaving its memory.

What unites inhabitants of the retirement place and the destroyed restaurant in Baku? Time, a ruthless artist.

Why portraits of elderly women and palms look so logically natural with images of dishonoured walls of once fine architecture? Time does not have any power over either of them.

Elena Panteleeva

The chief editor of BLACK SQUARE magazine