It was at a watershed moment in latter-day Russian history, on the cusp of the 80s and 90s of the last century, that Sergey Leontiev shot his key cycle of photographs A Love Affair with the Theater. This was at a time when the portrayal of nude figures, a genre which for decades had remained a no-go zone for everyone except amateurs and underground artists, was making a return to the exhibition halls and cinema screens of the pre-collapse USSR. Yet even in the absence of a ban on displaying what had hitherto been concealed, the process of opening people’s eyes had a huge shock effect. Reared within the confines of the chaste Soviet visual canon, the viewer was not prepared for the degree of openness that was being offered and perceived such artistic gestures as jarring provocations and eyesores. This «attack on the eye» turned out to be akin to the discovery of a new vision, a new awareness, first and foremost of the viewer him or herself. The new system of references and new sensuality called for a new visual language.