/ Olga Astratova / Photo story

A Long Winter

Monochrome buildings alternating with empty lots and playgrounds, benches and fences, car parks and gas stations, students and accountants, security guards and bus drivers, teachers, yard keepers, and ordinary passers-by doing certain work day by day at a certain time, the never-ending cycle of things and events reminds me of winter days with so little sun and so much gloomy uncertainty.

Summer itself is the season of joy, it hides and decorates our daily routine with a frenzy of greenery and color. From November to March the ground gets exposed just like the roots or nerves, but contradictions grow bigger, even those of the general scope. In winter the time somehow goes slower, footprints are better visible in the snow, cheeks turn pink in the cold wind, the palms are warmed with breath, and the hearts are longing for summer. A series of documentary photographs A Long Winter is about those people I don’t know, their homes and windows, their moments of peace, quiet sadness or joy. Some I was watching from a distance, some I approached to talk, but some turned and walked away.

A friend of mine told me once, looking at the photos from this series taken in Riga that her Riga was very different from mine – not that it would be more beautiful or better, but just different, as if from a different angle, and I really liked it, this idea of each of us having their own Riga and their own long winter. Mine is casual and not festive, but the everyday is what attracts me as an object of photography and research. I’d want to feel the same way about summer, but somehow I still can’t, and after all the summer is over, and we have another long winter ahead of us.

Olga Astratova (1977) holds BA degree from Liepaja University and is currently studying MA Photography and Media in Vilnius Academy of Arts. Her works have been awarded at PX3 and IPA Awards contests, as well as included in Riga Photomonth projection 2018.