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Alexander Aksakov June 8, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.

Epiphany Night, St.Petersburg, Russia 2011

Alexander Aksakov (b. 1986, Russia) is a freelance photographer based in St. Petersburg. He started photographing life in cities and roads of Russia in 2005 during his first experience as a hitchhiker. While studying at the university he decided not to work as a marketeer, but would concentrate on photography. In 2007 he was invited by several Syktyvkar (Komi Republic, Russia) newspapers as a freelance photographer. After graduating in 2009 he was put into the army and served for a year as a fireman in Plesetsk, the space launching site. He lives and works in St. Petersburg shooting mainly for St. Petersburg and making personal documentary projects and essays.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made on my way home from an assignment. I saw large group of people swimming in the Neva river covered with ice. Somebody fired a flash in front of me at the moment I pressed the shutter. It’s believed that sinking into cold water for three times helps wash away your sins and become closer to God. In Russia it’s a very popular ritual and sometimes even people who don’t really believe in God take part in it. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. People sink even if it’s -30C outside or colder. Those who have tried it say they feel lighter and better and their problems disappear.  That’s the idea of epiphany: people washing off their sins and getting closer to heaven.