After 5 p.m. in Lipakovo, a village in Northern Russia you can only see what your flashlight allows you to.
The photographs here are made the way the locals see their village, a tiny circle of light surrounded by pitch black darkness: There can actually be a wolf in any picture here, you just don’t know if you can see it.
There are no street lights for over 20 years now. There used to be a lumber mill here, serviced by several thousand people working in the village and in the nearby forests, an intensely operated narrow gauge rail road and a factory producing furniture parts on the spot. The lights, factory noise and a lot of people going back and forth kept the beasts away. After the lumber mill was shut down in the 90s, the village’s infrastructure fell apart, most of the population left the area in search of new jobs and better life quality. The narrow gauge railroad that used to be about 78 km into the forest is now partially dismantled and sold for metal, leaving some 30 km of it still in use. The population is now diminished to some three hundred people. The wolves now have less things to be afraid of and began coming to the streets more and more often. There are a couple of more factors that act on the wolve’s side and they are about the hunting licences: the estimation of the wolve’s population in the region is rather sloppy, therefore it’s difficult to issue the right quota for hunting, and then a licence to kill a wolf is too expensive and is rarely affordable for the locals. Killing one without the licence is subject to an even more expensive fine. The villagers are thus coexisting with the wolves, pets here are locked up or taken home during the night and people prefer to stay indoors after sunset.
About Anna Bernal
Anna Bernal studied in Fotografika Academy in St.Petersburg, she is dedicating to visual research in both photography and graphics. She took part in several expeditions to various regions of Russia working with visual research with students of Higher School of Economics and in interested in peculiarities of local communities.