"I Still Can't Believe I Live In Such a Beautiful Place"

5 favorite photos of a man who left the city for a Russian village

When I was a kid, I was in the photography club. I took pictures with a Smena-8M camera, and I loaded the film into a tank with my hands up the sleeves of my grandfather's jacket to develop it. That was all that remained in my memory of my childhood hobby, one of many.

The return to photography coincided with our move from Smolensk to the countryside. We live in a very picturesque wilderness in the Smolensk Lakeland National Park. At first my wife and I left for the summer, but it smoothly turned into the fall and then into our first winter in a new place, which, by the way, turned out to be warm. We got involved in a measured country life and decided to stay for good.

My wife is a puppeteer, and I work remotely in a company that sells building materials. The kids live in town. From time to time we have a grandson who comes to visit. He is in one of the five photos. Despite the fact that no work in the countryside do not sit - the garden there, construction without end, we have never regretted that we left Smolensk. We still cannot believe that we live in such a beautiful place.

The furnace was surprised to see the flames outside. Last spring there was a fire. A man-sized fire came to us through the field. In about an hour, a dozen abandoned houses burned.

We were lucky: when the picket fence erupted, the wind changed and firefighters arrived. They fought off the houses, and we stayed up all night waiting for the embers. The next day I followed the black trail with my camera.

The man destroyed the bison and then brought it back from oblivion. The picture shows the bull Olaf and the employee of the overexposure station. Massive boards in the foreground and background create the illusion that the animal and the person were seated in different corrals. And the latter has a smaller one.

I shot a picture at the time of the feeding, pushing the camera through the fence. The animal eats and watches over me at the same time. I think this photo is about respect for other people's borders.

The dead look after the running boy. The boy's name is Daniel - "God is my judge" from Hebrew. True, I learned this after the photograph appeared. We came to the village for food and at the same time for a walk. Danya was in the mood: he ran, chatted, laughed, created a fuss around us.

Passing the cemetery, I suddenly saw him against the background of monuments with serious faces and began to take pictures. At home, I chose a shot where the dead were in focus, and he was blurred. I liked the contrast. The whole point is how they look after: with envy, regret, hope?

Finally, Dolgy Island, - I said to myself when I first stepped on that shore. We live a kilometer from Lake Sapsho. Why it is called that is unknown. The lake is large and ancient, created by a glacier that plowed our places. It also created the islands. I shoot one called "Long Island" all year round from the same point. I love the way it holds the sky and is reflected in the water. Always different.

In winter, I saw footprints in the snow leading to the island, and I followed them. On the other side I met a fisherman. He was frying bacon over a fire, and a pike lay in a bag next to him. I even have a photo with him, though not entirely successful because of the smoke.

"The bear is on the heels of Kuzkin Vladimir Aleksanych." They are talking about my neighbor. Likes to tell stories about bears. He looks like the kindly retired Oorfene Deuce. In the village he has a workshop, where instead of soldiers he cuts mermaids from wood. And also bears, deer, wolves, hares - in the form of articulated toys and life-size.

Every weekend at Kuzkin's is “vernissage” in the open air. And on weekdays it is better not to distract him - for he creates. You can also call him an architect. In the park there is a bridge of Love, built as a gift to his wife for the anniversary of their marriage, the holy spring of St. Seraphim of Sarov and this Kuzka chapel in his yard.

Source: foma.ru (Russian)

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