Winter, or 'zima' in Russian, is a definitive season in Russia. Two thirds of the country is covered in snow and ice and winter can last from three to nine months, depending on the region. The effect on people and daily life is, in some sense, contradictory. On the one hand, winter brings sub zero temperatures across the land, permeating daily life. On the other, people love to spend their time out in the snow, skiing, skating and making snowmen. While rivers are stopped in their tracks and lakes freeze over, the frozen surfaces allow for seasonal 'ice roads', linking remote settlements in the coldest parts of the country. The winters are long, grey and hard but the vast blanket of white snow brings a sense of mystery and surreal beauty to even the greyest landscape, covering unsightly aspects in pure monochrome. According to one Russian legend, truth is white, frosty, cold, sparkling, silent and infinite - just like a tundra landscape stretching as far as they eye can see.
On numerous journeys across Russia, Elena has photographed winter and winterly landscapes. This series reflects her feelings about winter, its contradictory nature and the different ways people interact with the season.