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PORTFOLIO

22.02.2015

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“I was in Crimea for the first time in 1982, when I was five years old. I can hardly remember anything from that time – just the feel of hot pebbles on the beach and the sound of the sea.

I returned to Crimea during the eventful year of 2014, but I had no political motivation in mind. It was the second part of my White to Black documentary project, covering a yachting expedition across Russia from the White to the Black Sea.

We already saw the first forerunners of Crimea on the Russian shore: an enormous mass of waiting cars. People have to persevere and wait for up to three days to get a ferry from Russia to Crimea – in the confusion of secession, train services through the Ukraine had come to a standstill.  

Once we arrived in Crimea we could understand why so many tourists want to go there: accommodation was inexpensive, food in the markets fresh and tasty, even a visit to one of the many cafés and restaurants was affordable for anyone. In addition, you have the warm waters of the Black Sea – who can resist that?

Most of the time I take pictures in Russia’s cold northern regions, where people have to struggle with difficult climate conditions. Consequently, it was rather unusual to find myself confronted with so many holiday makers. Music could be heard coming from numerous Karaoke bars, while the delicious smells of shish kebabs wafted out of the many alleyways in the small town of Koktebel.

Those who love nature and being alone are drawn to Fox Bay seven kilometres away. With a total disinterest in politics in common, the bay brings together nudists and hippies, Buddhists and Orthodox believers.

I experienced no zealous, political discussions while I was there – not among the local inhabitants or the tourists. There were complaints about the adversities of life or the low numbers of tourists, but not one comment about Russian or Ukrainian politics. The whole time I was in Koktebel and the surrounding areas, there were no disturbances, no differences of opinion or protests. It was as though the air in Crimea magically ensured that quiet and relaxation reigned.”

Ekaterina Solovieva

Born in Moscow in 1977, the photographer and documentary film maker Ekaterina Solovieva has lived in Hamburg since 2006. Her work focusses mainly on the life of simple country folk living in countries of the former Soviet Union. She places a particular emphasis on religious traditions and customs. Her ПАЛОМНИКИ (Pilgrimage) photo book was published by Bad Weather Press in January of 2014.

www.solovieva.viewbook.com
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