September 4, 2013
Nadia Sablin, a Brooklyn-based photogrpaher, says that her Alehovshchina: Two sisters project is a series of photographs detailing the lives of two unmarried sisters, her aunts, who live in Northwest Russia.
Sablin, 33, was born in what was then Leningrad and emigrated to the United States in 1992, settling with her parents in Cleveland. She studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating in 2002, and received a master’s degree from Arizona State University in 2011.
Nadia Sablin, untitled, from Alehovshchina: Two sisters series
The two women are in their seventies, but carry on the traditional Russian way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well and making their own clothes. As they get older, they are less and less able to perform the grueling tasks of running their small farm and must rely on financial help from their relatives.
Sablin has spent the summer of the last three years photographing this vanishing way of life. She adds:
In 1952, my grandfather began to lose his vision as a result of being wounded in WWII. Wanting to return to the place where he grew up, he found an unoccupied hill in a village in the Leningrad region of Russia, close to his brothers, sisters and numerous cousins. He took his house apart, log by log, and floated it down the Oyat river to its new location and reconstructed it. This house, with no running water or heat, is the place where my father and his siblings grew up, each moving to the big city after finishing school.
The house still stands, occupied by two of my aunts in the warmer months, whose life is spent in the routine of chores, handiwork and puzzles.