After the Firebird, photo essay by Ekaterina Vasilyeva
2010 – 2015
[R]ussian village is rapidly sinking into oblivion.
The sad statistics shows that in Russia over the last two decades almost 25 thousands rural settlements disappeared with the map of Russia. Moreover, according to the sociologists, about the same number of them is on the verge of extinction.
My story begins long time ago when my grandmother and grandfather, both from the Pskov region (Russia), met in Leningrad (St. Petersburg now), got married and stayed there for the rest of their life. But it could have turned out very different. I, now a modern city dweller, could have been born among those flowering fields and hard-working people.
In his village, my grandfather used to be called a gypsy because he could predict the approaching of someone’s death. As for himself, he always knew that he would survive two wars and would’t be injured. And so it happened. Concerning my grandmother, he said that she would outlive him by exactly ten years. The prediction also came true.
Over the last five years that I have been documenting people from the small village Andrushino in Pskov region, I have been subconsciously looking for overt or covert manifestations of people’s magic. I think that it is as much a part of our being, as history and geography. Faced with a fabulous world of folklore you soon realize that it is rooted in a totally real ground and that all the beliefs and superstitions, charms and rituals, tales and fables are not just a warehouse of archetypes of the collective unconscious, but an immediate response of the collective soul to the mysterious currents of the natural elements.