German photographer Thomas Neumann shared a story about his visits to Yakutia. He recently released a photobook, which also included photographs from trips around the republic.
Since the 90s, Thomas Neumann has traveled and photographed in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Following his travels, he published the book Exakte Vertrauensgrenzen / Exact Confidence Limits, which reflects the images and meanings of Soviet socialism. The idea to travel to places of the former Soviet Union originated a long time ago and is associated with his youth.
“I was born in the German Democratic Republic in 1975 and belong to the last “socialist” generation. After all the changes in the east, it became very interesting for me to see all these places with my own eyes. At school, we taught about the great Soviet Union, and this huge and progressive country attracted me very much. So, like many others, I was shocked to hear about the collapse of this country, as well as the whole hidden story of Stalin, GULAG and so on. And all this contradiction made me want to see all these places myself. In earlier years, I traveled more for the sake of adventure, and then began to devote these trips to photography and research,” said Neumann.
The first time he visited Yakutia in 2012. With a friend, he visited Oymyakon to see the coldest place.
“My first trip to Yakutia took place in January 2012, and it really was very cold. Personally, I was surprised that the republic is very different from all the places I visited in Russia. I really liked the Yakut lifestyle, as well as its connection with nature,” commented Neumann.
During that trip, he took his first photographs of Yakutia and decided for himself to return here again. And this happened in 2017 and again in the winter. He visited Magadan, and then went by car to Yakutsk.
Neumann really liked the frozen rivers with beautiful forms of ice, and he noted the extraordinary feature of the icy nature. The photographer admitted that as a project he was interested in the historical landscape, namely the places associated with the history, which is invisible now. In Kolyma and Yakutia there were GULAG labor camps for gold mining and infrastructure projects. For many years he was engaged in projects on Soviet history.
He also noted that Yakutsk has changed over the period from 2012 to 2017. A lot of new buildings appeared, the city became very modern and, despite the harsh climate, remains very busy. “I really liked it here. Personally, I was interested in the Asian influence and Yakutia itself. I believe that the republic should preserve its culture and customs. In our global world, it is important to have a stable identity,” concluded Thomas Neumann.
And next time the photographer would like to see Yakutia in the fall.
He shared pictures taken in our northern region.