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Sergey Nikolaev


Russia: Beyond 101st kilometer


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        Beyond 101st kilometer series consists of photographs formed during a period from year 1979 to 2001. Having a permanent residence in Zaporozhye, I have made about a dozen trips to regions of Tver, Krasnodar, Yaroslavl, Ryazan, Kostroma, Ivanov, Vologda, Arkhangelsk and Moscow.
        I was not a reporter and did not have a publisher at the time, back then I simply took pictures. Those were my 18 vacation days, personal days, skipped work, and rare business trips where I asked to be hired as an assistant. Everywhere flourished studio photography, but the desire to see and photograph simple life of remote Russia was stronger.
        With every trip came a deeper understanding of the kind of country we have lost, how many people perished in wars and prison camps. Ties between people were broken, young people either non-existent, or they were moving to small, and then large cities. The carcasses of houses (amazing houses!) and churches were the proof of that, and the only remaining people, the old folk, continued to live there despite of everything. All of that ugliness of life would get covered by green grass in the summer, white snow in the winter, and in the fall and spring youd put on rubber boots and hope for the best. I thought to myself back then, that such a country cannot be kept up and saved by individual people. Even now we barely know how to cooperate. And anyway, this is a different country now, that other country, the Russia, we can only guess and fantasize about.
        In the end I never managed to fully comprehend Russia, just barely touched, passed by something, and after a few days went back home to the trenches.

Sergey Nikolaev