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Jacob Aue Sobol’s excellent image: twinneds cling on in the coldest city on Land

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The temperature can plunge to -6 0C in parts of Siberia, and the ghosts of Stalins labour camps are everywhere. Despite the conditions, these twinneds represent resilience

I satisfied these brothers in Yakutsk, in north-eastern Siberia. They remind me of all the things Ive shared with my own identical twin brother: the various kinds of symbiotic affair all twins have. They love one another. Theyre hampering each other and viewing on to each other. They have almost become one.

I was there to photograph the Road of Bones, the 2,031 km roadway that pulls from Yakutsk to Magadan in far-east Russia. It depicts its epithet from the hundreds of thousands of people who, between 1932 and 1953, were sent by Stalin to thrust labour camps and whose remains are buried in its foundations. According to hostages testimonies, the highway claimed one form for each tree cut down to clear the woodland.

It flows along the coldest part of the inhabited world and its occupants seem to exist in pure disregard, under bitterly extreme situations. As we wandered along, we discovered abandoned Gulag cliques where objects left by the prisoners were littered in all the regions of the sand. We experienced the abandoned ghost hamlet of Kadykchan, with its immense, deserted apartment building, scattered with personal belongings. This village was built by Gulag captives for coal mining, and was evacuated because of an blowup. I crawled into one of these mines and discovered a palace of ice crystals of all conditions; it was strange to find elegance in a plaza with such a nighttime, merciless past.

At -5 0C anything that they are able freeze, will freeze. My camera would turn to an ice cube if left exposed for longer than five minutes, so I had to keep it under my armpit until the moment I wanted to picture. My simply other option would have been to let my prompt finger freeze to the camera exhaust button. Never before had I knowledge these sorts of coldnes and I maybe never will again. In some residences it dropped to -6 0C overnight and we were dazed by the almost 100 C difference between indoors and outdoors.

The seed for the Road of Bones project was planted years ago when I started my photographic investigation of the Trans-Siberian railway through Russia, Mongolia, and China. When we ventured northward of Lake Baikal, the geography plotted me. Even after terminating back in Copenhagen, the seeing of it never left my imagination. I knew that I would render there one day and so I did, to Oymyakon, the coldest colonized metropoli in the world.

Some people will look at the Road of Bones photos and find the warmth and the cherish in these coarse borders, while others will see something nighttime and morbid. To me, this image is about these peoples resilience and the life that exists in this unforgiving neighborhood despite everything.

I photograph parties because something about them is beautiful and I want to share a moment with them. Public allow me to get physically close to them with my camera because Im a stranger who has come and demonstrated them that they are important. In no time, mutual confidence originates, you are invited into their lives and you can create an insinuate likenes such as this.

Jacob Sobols CV

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