By Valeria Sukhova

04 February 2020

Galina Davydova, 61, first took camera 5 years ago to share moments of life in her native Yakutia.


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Washed clothes freeze within minutes of being taken out at -40C. PIcture: Galina Davydova

Living in the Kingdom of Permafrost, as the Republic of Sakha is known, is not for the faint-hearted. 

The climate in Russia’s largest region, only slightly smaller than India, is unkind to humans (and animals) with its long freezing winters and brief but often very hot summers, when the temperatures range between the seasons reaches 108C. 

Snow covers its frozen grounds from October to May, and in winters many remote areas of this vast region are only accessible by driving on hard frozen rivers. 

Yet the biting cold doesn’t tame the spirit of people living in Yakutia.

The hospitable, humorous and warm-hearted locals often take pride at how they weather harsh winter days.

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Living in the Kingdom of Permafrost. Pictures: Galina Davydova

Check out these pictures of laughing dance studio kids from the village of Tattinnsky ulus as they pose in the snow, or a set with frozen clothes, all taken by photographer Galina Davydova. 

‘The idea with frozen clothes comes from my childhood, because this is how we all dried clothes after washing in winters. I remember the feeling of hands being near frostbitten by the time we finished picking them up. It was just one of the typical scenes of life in Yakutia that I wanted other people to see’, said Galina.

The amateur photographer teaches Yakut language and literature at her village school, and spends her spare time taking pictures. 

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Dancers from a village studio pose in the snow; a washed set of clothes freezes within less than an hour at outdoor -45C, and a picture of an elderly lady. Pictures: Galina Davydova

Among Galina’s favourite models are Yakut horses, a small and sturdy local breed that lives unsheltered even when air temperature drops below minus 60C. 

They normally spend days outdoor, digging for forage from under the snow, but when it gets too cold people offer extra meals of grain and hay.

One of Galina’s pictures shows the moment  two stallions fight for food. 

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Among Galina’s favourite models are Yakut horses, a small and sturdy local breed that lives unsheltered even when air temperature drops below minus 60C. Pictures: Galina Davydova

‘Five years ago I told myself that a good teacher should be able to do anything, and I took online photography courses via WhatsApp’, Galina explains. 

‘I am using a basic photo editing tool to crop and lighten the images, and am yet to study programmes like Photoshop which seems to be too complicated’. 

Galina has been teaching children for 40 years in the village school of her native Tattinsky ulus.

‘I love teaching children, and travelling about Yakutia to take pictures. 

‘It’s great to get feedback from people who see my works on Instagram, even if it is critical - but it would be fair to say that whatever people say I would still continue taking pictures to share the beauty of my land, its people and animals.’ 

Pictured below: Galina Davydova and her pictures of living in Russia's coldest region

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