Aleksey Myakishev -Kolodozero

Searching for the emotions that underpin human society, Aleksey Myakishev photographed this story between 2011 and 2015 in Kolo- dozero. Immersed in the daily goings-on of a village in north-west Russia, the reader is taken on a journey to a time and place where life is simple yet profound.

Aleksey Myakishev:
On the shore of a lake lies Kolodozero, a small village made up of ten or so small clusters of dwellings. Nestled between Karelia and Arkhangelsk Oblast, in north-west Russia, Kolodozero seems like most other Russian villages, on the face of it. A nursery and a school, despite dwindling class sizes, stand within the vicinity of the lake. Everyone gets by as best they can, working in lumbering, subsist- ence farming, fishing and hunting or collecting scrap metal to sell locally. The village is also home to a handful of people who decided to move there to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but they are very much the exception. Life in Kolodozero is not for the faint-hearted.

And yet, there is something special about Kolodozero. I visited the village for the rst time in winter, on Christmas Eve. I suddenly felt like I was immersed in a tale — a tale that would completely absorb me. I made a promise to myself to return. And that I did in spring, summer, autumn and again in winter — several times over too — so that I could record the feelings and impressions I experienced throughout the seasons on lm. I was captivated by the mentality of the local in- habitants, the local landscape and the charismatic Father Arkadi, an indulgent storyteller, who told me some fascinating local tales.

A small boat glides over a lake enshrouded in heavy evening mist… the distant wooden church spire points towards the sky and appears to be oating gently like a ghost… The lapping of the water, rustling blades of grass, and the wind move me in such a way that I can barely contain the feeling of joy within me. And then, in the blink of an eye, I realise this is my home and I feel I can understand where we have come from.