© Ekaterina Vasilyeva
The Russian village is rapidly sinking into oblivion. Statistics shows that over the last two decades almost 25 thousand rural settlements have disappeared from the map of the country. Moreover, according to sociologists, about the same number of villages are on the verge of extinction.
My story begins a long time ago when my grandmother and grandfather, both from the Pskov region (West Russia), met in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), got married and settled there until they died. But it could have turned out to be a very different story. 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 approach of someone’s death. As for himself, he always knew that he would survive two wars without injury. And so it happened. Concerning my grandmother, he said that she would outlive him by exactly ten years. This prediction also came true.
Over the last five years that I have been documenting people from the small village Andrushino in the Pskov region, I have been subconsciously looking for overt or covert manifestations of folk magic. I think that it is as much a part of our being, as it is of history and geography. Faced with a fabulous world of folklore you soon realise that it is rooted in reality 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.
Ekaterina Vasilyeva – I’m an independent photographer, working at the intersection of the genre of documentary and art photography. I have exhibited in several solo and collective exhibitions in St.Petersburg and other cities in Russia.