1. The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.

    Russian photographer Valeriy Klamm felt that foreign photojournalists who came to work in his country arrive with the pictures they want to send back home already in their head: Bleak images of a cold and desolate place where autocrats lord over drunks.

    Klamm, himself, had never photographed much outside of his home city of Novosibirsk, where nearly 2 million people live on the banks of the Ob River in the middle of Siberia.

    But in 2000, he started to visit these small towns, camera in hand. He began to ask his photographer friends, both foreign and local, to share images of simple life the rural Russian villages that dot the vast expanse from Europe to the Pacific Ocean.

    And in 2009, Klamm started “Birthmarks on the Map,” a collective photo project and website that collects these images in one place.

    Beyond Sochi: Russia By Russians

    Photo Credit: Fyodor Telkov, Yekaterinburg, Valeriy Klamm, Novosibirsk, Igor Lagunov, Magnitigorsk