Eugeniy Samarin talking about the expedition to the Nizhny Novgorod region and Vesna art project

Photographer – famous in Russia and abroad thanks to his exhibitions, revealing to Japanese and Chinese people an unknown and wonderful Russian lands.

— I have been doing photography for a long time and I love taking pictures of Russia. Despite the fact that I live in Moscow (shooting sites at Moscow is my main job), I really like to travel around the country, to observe and explore Russian culture. I can say that I am a geographical patriot.

— What inspired you to undertake the expedition?

— I have a busy schedule, yet Nizhny Novgorod is the region through which I travel to my parents’ home twice a year. Passing by, I thought how interesting it would be to discover the place, its life inside out, but there was no appropriate reason for this. And suddenly, thanks to my friend Roman and his idea about the expedition, I was offered such a magical opportunity to postpone all work and make a long-awaited trip.

I went to that region three times, got into the car, took the camera and traveled along the Volga without any special intention in mind, observed woods and fields, tried to show what the core of this nature consists of, but not a postcard like landscape, but how it is seen by the locals.

I got my inspiration from reading about the natural monuments of the Nizhny Novgorod region, by opening the Internet and learning their history, how to get there and why it may be interesting. Sometimes I drove 100-150 km drifting back and forth, but it didn’t upset me, as I met a lot of interesting things on the way, stopped and breathed in the fresh air. For a city dweller, it is sort of a meditation. It’s wonderful, you seem to be doing work, but at the same time, you can stop and enjoy the wonderful nature views.

I saw a lot of interesting things. I used to pass Lake Svetloyar very often, a place that looks like it was taken from a Russian fairy tale but I had no opportunity to stop nearby. As soon as I had such a chance, I came there on purpose, rented a hotel, and that evening I was lucky enough to see a real starfall! It was such a revelation for me, I realized that my coming here was not in vain, and received great pleasure from the contemplation of falling stars.

For a man who is trapped by a city life it is so pleasant just to stop and see the beauty around. It is useful sometimes to remind yourself that in contrast to the polluted cities we have an attractive countryside with its vast territories, but we do not always have an opportunity to realize how beautiful it is.

— Is Nizhny Novgorod an important city for you?

— I have a lot of friends in Nizhny Novgorod whom I met whilst working here for quite a long time. I love visiting this place and showing it to my wife, children and friends. The city itself is beautiful, especially its old pre-revolutionary part. Unfortunately, it is constantly disappearing, and I set out to capture its unique style, until it’s all gone. However, there are a lot of small towns around the region that deserve attention, this is a real country, real Russia. A part of her soul is reflected in them, as pompous as it may sound.

The idea was to get as many impressions as possible and try to seize them using a camera.

— What difficulties did you face during the expedition?

— I took a very responsible approach to planning. Of course, I was afraid to get stuck somewhere when moving off road in search of interesting photos, despite having an SUV, but all went well. In general, I expected it to be an incredible adventure, and it was. While traveling on the Kolyma, I approached face to face a bear and her cubs, so I had to use a flare and screams to scare her away. However, the overall expedition to the Nizhny Novgorod region consisted of pleasant moments only.

— Did you want to stay?

— To my deepest regret, I am a workaholic. I’m used to constantly working and facing challenges. Usually while living with my parents I have enough time to stay away from civilization where I tend to meditate and relax with my soul, but over time I panic, and rush back to work. It’s kind of a Moscow virus, and I’m working hard on myself to cope with it. I have a dream to buy my own house, maybe even in Nizhny Novgorod region, where I could come to organize my thoughts and clean my soul, but unfortunately I can’t afford this because of my workload.