I believe this life is not about what we can get, but what we can give. And during the last 30 days I had an amazing opportunity to literally go to the end of the earth and make people smile and laugh, and photograph them. I was traveling around Chukotka, Russia starting with Anadyr (capital of Chukotka) and into the very deep Tundra where nobody lives except small tribal groups of reindeer herders, staying and photographing them in their everyday life, and it was a life changing experience.
Inspired by Help Portrait I decided to take it to the place where nobody had done it before. I started in Anadyr, and I hosted 4 events, and the most memorable was in the hospital for the children with tuberculosis. The day before we went to talk to the administration of the hospital and accidentally my friend found a letter in the trash can, which one of the girls from the hospital wrote. It really touched me and it did more than that. I was really happy the next day when I could make that girl forget for a second about her difficulties in her life and simply capture a photo of her give her a print for her and her mother. The Letter is below, written in Russian.
Here is an English translation:
“I live in a village called Meynap ilino. I’m 9 years old. My name is Lyuba. I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. My oldest sister’s name is Marina, she is 12. The Youngest – Sveta, she is 8. My brother’s name is Tolyk, he is 7 months old. I’m in the hospital right now. I want to go home really really bad. First I was in the children’s branch. There was a girl called Arina from my school in the same branch with me. My granny Tanya was in the surgery branch and in the therapy branch was my grand-grand mother Olya. Now my granny Tanya and grand-grand mother Olya and friend Arina are at the airport flying back home. And I’m all alone here. My sisters should come soon to the hospital for an examination. I wish that we could be at home for the New Year. I cry a lot. I want to celebrate the New Year with my Mom, Dad, Sveta, Marina and Tolyk, with Granny, and with all the family. I really really really want to go home! Im crying every day and when i go to sleep because of this. I’m even crying right now because I want to go home really bad. I want and ask God what he he can do so that I can Celebrate New Year with my family.
It’s 2:12 pm, December 16th, I ask God that I would celebrate New Year with my sisters, granny, mom and dad.”
Me with kids from the hospital:
From another Help Portrait event which took place in a small village Yanranay (the boy in my hands is handicap).
After Anadyr I went to Pevek, the most Northern city in Russia, Chaun and later to the Tundra where I could photograph reindeer herders. It took us 9,5 hours to get there on the snow mobile. I froze some of my toes, as the weather was around -40F and during all 9+ hours you can’t really move as you are traveling always without breaks. During the couple of days which we spent there I could photograph and print photos for them right there on the spot, and it was amazing to watch their reaction from a simple photograph. People who never had a picture taken before, received photos right there in Tundra.
It was cold:
Me with reindeer herders inside the yaranga:
Me and reindeer herders Kostya and Boris: