Photographer Valeriy Klamm began his career photographing the city of Novosibirsk, where he was born. Yet, increasingly, he felt compelled to reach outside of his urban experience and capture images of greater Russia. In 2000, he turned his lens to rural communities, documenting a side of Russia that he saw as under- and misrepresented by foreign media. Where others photographed what they had already made up in their minds–stereotypical images of embittered people and harsh hinterland–Klamm found beauty, sensitivity, and color alongside the kind of wear and pain that doesn’t have to divide us. His project resonated with viewers and continued to grow. In 2009, Klamm started Birthmarks on the Map, a communal blog that collects pictures in the same spirit: “simple stories of simple heroes in simple [circumstances].” The images depict many people of Russia–soldiers, milkmaids, churchgoers, farmers, children, and the elderly–not mutually exclusive groups–at work and at play, lost in thought and involved in ritual.