ConceptEuropeNorthern Russia; There can be a wolf in this picture by Anna Bernal

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.

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.

Valentina is the local nurse on call, 24 hours. She’s standing in front of her house, the wolves leave the heads of the dogs they captured during the nigh just behind it.

“Have you seen the streets of Lipakovo after 5 p.m.?”

No dogs should be loose after 6 p.m.

Tatiana is cuddling her dog Akbay, to save him she once chased a wolf all the way back to the forest wearing only a nightgown.

A wolf came to the house of Svetlana and Alexander the week before and attacked their neighbour’s dog

“Valya calls me: We’re gonna get you a signal rocket!” And who I am going to signal to? To my neighbour Galina?”

“Sometime the wolf’s just sitting there on the crossroads, like a dog. Silently sitting and waiting. Who knows maybe he’s sitting right next us now!”

Zhenia and her family live in the last house on the street, which means very close to the wolves

Gennady and Galina.
They lock their dogs up in a wooden kennel for the night. Metal would have been more secure, of course, some people use wire.

“A wolf can snatch a dog under a street light too, but it would have been so much easier if we had lights: at least you can see where to shoot!”

“Sometime the wolf’s just sitting there on the crossroads, like a dog. Silently sitting and waiting. Who knows maybe he’s sitting right next us now!”

Alexey’s dog was killed on the porch he’s standing at. He didn’t have time to shoot. He found his dog’s head and the leash the next day.

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