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Exhibit Takes Look at 'Day in the Life of a Child'

This photo from the exhibit captured an ecstatic moment between three young girls in costumes who’d just finished performing in a dance recital.

A photography exhibit that aims to confront the public with issues facing children in contemporary Russia is now on at the Classical Photography Gallery in Moscow.  

"A Day in the Life of a Child" is a striking and eclectic collection of photographs charting the lives of children, mainly in Russia but also in other countries.

Many of the photographs focus on children suffering from disabilities or illness, orphans, and those from impoverished families.

The exhibition is the initiative of the OMK-Uchastie charity foundation run by OMK, one of Russia's largest metallurgical companies. It aims to show the difficult and often tragic lives of Russia's too frequently forgotten children, said Irina Sedykh, the head of the charity's board.

"We decided to see what kids' faces could tell adults. The faces in the photographs are reflecting our adult world," Sedykh said. "They're showing us that we have to change something."

"I never understood on airplanes why grown-ups are told to put on their oxygen masks first, before children. Then I suddenly saw in that a profound message; in order to help our children, we as adults need to talk [with] a clean, new breath."

The shots on show are the winners and runners up from a competition that was open to both professional photographers and amateurs.

A number of famous Russian photographers took part in the exhibit, including Yury Kozyrev, a multiple winner of World Press Photo awards from various trouble spots. His work in the exhibit looks at a social center for teenagers.

The photographs are accompanied by small texts composed by the photographers. Kozyrev writes, for one photo which shows three happy looking young girls, that the girls dressed in traditional Russian costume didn't want to change into their normal clothes after taking part in a concert.

Not all the photographs focus on Russia. One of the winners was English expat Hugo Chittenden, a filmmaker from London. His photos show the faces of children in Haiti after the devastating earthquake.  

"This exhibition is so powerful because you see the photographs and there's no choice, you have to look at it. As a mother, when I saw some of these photos, I started to cry," said Anastasia, a charity worker from Moscow, who suggested that an area away from the photographs be provided for visitors to collect themselves.

All of the proceeds from the exhibition will go to children's charities.

"A Day in the Life of a Child" runs till Jan. 13. Classical Photography Gallery, 23 Savvinskaya Naberezhnaya. Metro Sportivnaya. Tel. (495) 510-7713.

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