Rivers are containers of history and culture. They have been the engine of many civilizations through time, but still they continue to shape cultures, identities and personalities through its course. They feed societies, they literally move economies, they take you to a next life, they are muses; they give but they also take.
This project (a work in progress) seeks to present the different kind of relationships existing between the inhabitants living next to the river Volga, framed by a bleak landscape, in the remoteness of Russia.
Time and space is what these people have, and what you see most of the time isn’t what it seems. Thus, categories like “recreational”, for example, mean something completely different as one can imagine. These people show another “stage of the mirror”, therefore, the question of the self – “Who am I?” – comes as something inherent in this documentation.
I always try to put myself between the sitter and the spectator, and by doing that, I found out how people in front of the camera were “presenting themselves” as they are. They were engaged, they collaborated, they showed their privacy; they, somehow, created the whole scene. Furthermore, what I found transcendental concerning this project is their gaze. In this gaze I perceive something I would like to call “basic honesty”; an openness, just like their landscape. There is a flair of common nostalgia in the gaze of the people I had the chance to spend time with, nostalgia I think, also comes from the influence and the relation they have with the river; the river, somehow, determines the rhythm and the course of their lives.