snow filled winter valley lined with mountains

Photographer Captures The Lives Of People In Yakutia, Where It Gets As Cold As -58 Fahrenheit

Winters are painful to people who are quite prone to it. Now if you were in the Tropics, your winter might not be that dank. But if you are a citizen of Yakutia, we can understand your apprehension as the winter approaches. To people living in such a place, all they know are cold temperatures and a giant pile of snow. In this location, which is also called the Sakha Republic, the winters get as cold as -50 degrees. It’s 5,300 kilometers from Moscow and has a population of around 1 million. 

Snowy urban area. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

Life In Yakutia- A Cold Spell

, a photographer from Yakutia, took it upon himself to snap pictures of the daily lives and struggles of the people living here. After all, it couldn’t be any different from those urban photographers who click pictures of urban locales like London and New York, right? Wrong. The pictures the photographer clicks are a testament to the hardships people face here. In an interview with Bored Panda, he stated:

Advertisement

In the past, I was an alcoholic. When I stopped drinking, I needed to fill the void that the drink left. Then photography came to me and taught me to see life more positively.” 

Man with his cat. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

When asked, Alexey had a pretty simple reason for clicking these pictures:

Advertisement

“My dear Yakutia, where I was born, grew up, live. Although I used to dream of traveling the world, Yakutia seemed to me like a hole, an icy desert.”

Close up a woman's face. Eye brows and lashes are frosted with snow. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

One needs to pay close attention to the man’s words. While he definitely has affection for the place he was born, he knows that it is nothing but a desert of snow. This begets the pictures. Clicking pictures of modern buildings outside Oxford Street might seem Insta-worthy, but there is a haunting beauty in taking pictures of acute desolation. He continues:

Advertisement

I loved to drink a lot. When I quit drinking, it was necessary to fill the inner emptiness with something. Before, I spent all my free time in a bar with friends, and when all this was in the past, I did not know what to do. Then I opened Instagram and started shooting. Gradually, this occupation began to fascinate me more and more.

Streets illuminated by lights at dusk. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

Read: Photographer ‘Accidentally’ Captures Incredible Photos of a Brilliant Green Meteor

Advertisement

Beauty In Desolation- A Snapshot of Yakutia

When asked about his skill repertoire, Aleksey stated:

Trending Now

The Walton family lost nearly $19 billion after Walmart's biggest stoc...
The Walton family lost nearly $19 billion after Walmart's biggest stoc...
This $4000 Tiny 3D Printed Home Can Be Built In Just One Day
This $4000 Tiny 3D Printed Home Can Be Built In Just One Day
Say Goodbye to Incandescent Light Bulbs
Say Goodbye to Incandescent Light Bulbs
Bizarre ‘Road to Atlantis’ Discovered In Unexplored Part of Pacifi...
Bizarre ‘Road to Atlantis’ Discovered In Unexplored Part of Pacifi...
A couple in their 50s live permanently on a cruise ship because it's c...
A couple in their 50s live permanently on a cruise ship because it's c...
Woman Puts Condom On Her Leg Like A Sock To Call Out Men Saying They'r...
Woman Puts Condom On Her Leg Like A Sock To Call Out Men Saying They'r...
Chef returns $1,200 bill of rich diner who 'disrespected' his waitress...
Chef returns $1,200 bill of rich diner who 'disrespected' his waitress...
'Meghan won't be back. She disliked England' - ex-Vanity Fair editor
'Meghan won't be back. She disliked England' - ex-Vanity Fair editor
Eddie Murphy Paid for Comedian Redd Foxx's Funeral & Headstone after H...
Eddie Murphy Paid for Comedian Redd Foxx's Funeral & Headstone after H...
New Bay Area rental concept includes sleeping pods in shared home for ...
New Bay Area rental concept includes sleeping pods in shared home for ...
"I did it for me": Meet the man with 516 body modifications
He Became the First Man in History to Give Birth — His Life Changed ...
He Became the First Man in History to Give Birth — His Life Changed ...
Advertisement

“Until 2018, I had not studied photography anywhere. I didn’t care about education. It was just a hobby. But in 2018, I won a grant to study at the DocDocDoc photography school. I studied documentary photography and show my project about Yakut cinema, ‘Sakhawood.”

Reindeer pulling sleighs in snowy field. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

Unlike most of the photographers of today, Aleksey barely edits his pictures. In fact, the resident of Yakutia has mentioned that he is not that good with Lightroom or Photoshop. “I hate to spend my time editing my photos.” 

Advertisement
3 men eating and drinking together. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

It is quite a testament to his skill that he manages to capture Yakutia through a Canon 5D Mark IV and Fujifilm X100F. With the land knee-deep in snow, it takes real grit to shoot pictures as it is- not as the audience would want to see it. The pictures try to project a reality. There is no intention of pushing for a scenario where the Sakha Republic would come off as beautiful, or ethereal.

And for someone who has spent their entire life in this region, it is anything but beautiful:

Advertisement

In Yakutia, it’s damn cold and long winters. Winter frosts reach -50 or even -60 degrees. This winter was really cold, so we had to live at -60 Celsius for a while. If it were not for the daily need to go out, people would prefer to stay at home all the time, drink hot tea and wait for spring. In winter, life practically stops, a dense fog during severe frosts obscures the sunlight for several weeks or months.”

Hot Teas, Blankets, and Long Sleeps- How Do People Survive The Cold in Yakutia?

He also states:

Advertisement

“On weekends, there are very few people on the street. But it is the long, cold winters that have become a kind of brand of Yakutia, which guests from foreign countries are eager to get to know. For most residents, this is a reality that you have to put with.

Outside of a cabin a man is shining a light on a husky. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

Despite this, not everyone wants to leave Yakutia! Aleksey explains the reason:

Advertisement

“…because we have the internet, a cinema, a museum, and even a children’s library. We are not picky in search of the best benefits of large cities, we try to be content with small things and the nature that surrounds us everywhere. Nature is of great importance in the life of my people.”

Read: Watch the Amazing footage of Niagara Falls Collapsing In 1954

Survival, Existence, and Personal Philosophy Of Aleksey

In a place where winter is all about drinking hot tea, summer is definitely favored:

“Despite the fact that winter is the brand of Yakutia, summer is the most favorite time of the year because it is short and hot. It lasts only about a month, from mid-June to mid-July, and can reach 40 degrees Celsius. We love to relax in nature, to walk until the morning.”

Outside an apartment complex at a food stand. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

After their elaborate discussion of Yakutia, the conversation turns towards his own life. “I’m not sure if this can be called a hobby, but I love watching TV shows, movies, and lying on the couch all day.” He explains that he never wanted aimed to be a photographer. Today, he loves Yakutia, his mother, and, of course, photography.

Woman sitting on a bed. Photo by Aleksey Vasiliev
Image Credits: Aleksey Vasiliev

Also, Aleksey extends a warm welcome to visit his beloved homeland:

Come to visit Yakutia and you will see how awesome this place is. You will never forget this trip in your life. I promise you.

Well, it does look like a place filled with adventure and splendor, so why not visit it? Let us know in the comments if you will be making plans any time soon, or if you have any experience of the place! You can check out Alex’s socials for more stunning pics: Instagram | Facebook | Alexey-vasilyev.com

Keep Reading: Bear Cubs Hold Hands While Mom Goes Hunting

Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]
Advertisement