[T]his series was shot in Ukrainian villages during the Fall and Winter of 2009. In countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova, life in the countryside is hard to imagine. Time seems to stand still, while entropic forces prevail unhindered by the intervention of the government, or any other organization. These places, almost untouched by industrial progress, are mostly inhabited by elderly people (mainly women); all the young ones have migrated to the nearest cities. Many of these inhabitants are over 90 years old. Many of them are not capable of tending to their own farms. The state sponsored pensions these people receive are sufficient enough only to buy bread and milk. Moreover, in many of these places, there are no schools or jobs, no centralized gas or plumbing, and no hospitals, doctors or pharmacies. Cooking is done in firewood stoves, and water is gotten from wells.
Life in these places is a unique synthesis of absolute paradise (luscious colors, fresh air, beautiful nature) and incredible misery. The villages’ elderly inhabitants live out their last days in the lands of their heritage. Despite all the misery in their lives, they are one with their homes and with these lands. These places are slowly fading and disappearing along with the people who were born, and will die, faithful to them.
(Viktoria Sorochinski | Land of No-Return, PRIVATE 55, pages 42-45)