The last time I tried to register Dave in my parents' apartment, it took me two hours to collect all of these necessary pieces of information and to fill out all of the forms (crossing out letters and numbers is not allowed -- every time you make an error you have to start from the beginning). The last time, we went to the post office in the center of the city, a very busy one with the perpetual long line of people waiting for service, and every time we'd stand in line, they would give us one new piece of information (go get the Xerox copies), and then we'd stand in line again and they would give us another piece of information (go make the second copy of the short form). This time, I stupidly forgot my passport at home and so we had to spend the better part of the day in the subway, going back to my neighborhood to pick it up and then coming back downtown to hang out with friends in the evening. But altogether, the experience was not nearly as traumatic because we ended up going to the local post office in my neighborhood, where the woman who worked with us wasn't in a rush and she spoke to me with kindly condescension (oh, so you filled out only one copy of the short form? what, you don't want to keep a copy of it for your own records?). It also helped that this time I had a better idea of what I was doing and was at least partially prepared for the ordeal.
We had dinner with my friends Polina and Kostya at a French restaurant, and then visited my brother's photo studio, Monochrome Loft. The idea behind this business is to rent out space to professional photographers who can make use of the studio's excellent natural light as well as high end lighting equipment that they've installed. Monochrome Loft also hosts lectures and events; on Monday nights my brother teaches yoga to a rapidly growing group of students. The studio is a large space downtown St. Petersburg, capable of hosting several different photo sessions at the same time. My brother (whose name is also Kostya) and his partners have done a great job remodeling: they preserved the texture of the bricks underneath the layer of white paint, laid new wooden floors, paneled the extremely high ceilings, installed new windows. They opened for business in January, and the opening party was a huge success (see video below), and things have been thriving ever since.
Monochrome Loft is thinking of establishing a residency program for visiting photographers; and they already have a relationship with a nearby hostel to provide living accommodations. So if you know any photographers who might be interested in using a modern studio space in St. Petersburg and teaching some guest lectures, please get in touch :)
Dave's account of Friday's events is surprisingly similar.