The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”
Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
November 2014 issue
by Oksana Yushko
Kenozero is the name of an area in the North of Russia lost among forests and awful roads. Several ordinary villages
are spread near the lake of the same name. Most are abandoned now, nothing extraordinary is happening there. People
live their daily lives, they got used to unemployment and bad social conditions long ago. But man cannot live without
hope. Most of us prefer to go with the flow and dream of a better life. So do people in Kenozero. I asked people about
their dreams as I photographed them in the fields, in their houses and in a local shop, fishing and picking up flowers.
And I wish all their dreams will come true one day.
One of the villages in Kenozero where nobody lives now. Last resident babushka Nastya died several years ago and
now this area is used only for haymaking.
Alexey, 20, attends a village disco on his birthday. He has no plans for the future, no job, no girlfriend. He steals timber
and in such a way earns a bit of money. He dreams that one day he will find a job, a girl or something else that will
make sense for him.
Tables set up for a wedding dinner in a village cafe. Most young people leave their native villages right after finishing
school to find a better life.
A big family gather all together once a year in the house of their grandmother. All children and grandchildren nowadays
live in other towns after they left to find a better life.
Villagers celebrating the Day of Ivan Kupala which has its roots in an ancient pagan festival. Nowadays people
celebrate this day as a Christian holiday.
Anna and Olga dressed in traditional Russian dresses of the Northern regions. They sing in a local folk group and
dream about more tourists coming to Kenozero.
Dmitry and his sister picking flowers on the Eve of Ivan Kupala. They say if you wish something that night it will come
true. Dmitry wished that he could learn to play the guitar.
A man sitting before a bottle of home-distilled vodka. Alcohol is the usual way for many people to forget their daily
worries and problems.
Most young people leave their native villages right after finishing school to find a better life.
Anna and Olga finishing their daily routine in the fields. Many people live on subsistence farming and depend upon a
good crop in order to tide themselves over the winter months.
Women weighing a piece of sausage in a local shop in Kenozero. With their salary, they can't afford to buy it too often.
A village wedding in Kenozero. After the celebration, the couple leave to return to Arkhangelsk, where Andrey has a job.
A homemade fish pie baked in bread, a traditional dish in Kenozero.
Wild horses in Kenozero.
Children playing on an old barge in Kenozero.
An old woman lying in her house in an otherwise abandoned village. Her dream is to see her grandchildren more often
because they live far away.
A dinner set for guests visiting their relatives in Kenozero.