Photographer Anna Nikonenok is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘A moon of nickel and ice’. To see Anna’s body of work, click on any image.
An Unforgiven land, scarred by human souls who traded their captivity for a bright hope.
Norilsk is a unique city in the Siberian Arctic, built here by the victims of the GULAG. Once you get here, you will lose touch with reality; when you come back from Norilsk, you will never be the same. Birds do not sing here, trees do not grow, permafrost rules here, where there is an eternal war between man and metal. Life here is like on the Moon. Every day is an unequal battle, first of all, with yourself and the nature.
People respond to extreme frosts, severe blizzards and the burning darkness of the polar night with harmful emissions from the city-forming mining and metallurgical enterprises of the giants. For some, Norilsk is the only way to earn money, while others are attracted by the romance of the North, but absolutely everyone dreams of leaving here. However, the city is in no hurry to let go, it is in its power to give happiness and take away happiness.
All this is watched by the Moon in a doomed way, hitting you in the back with neon light, hurrying you. Inside it the ruins, the emptiness. She knows what color your dream is, knows the taste of freedom, knows that no one can save us from ourselves. Soon it will be gone forever, to be reborn, to breathe the grass again.
Meanwhile, the Moon sighs proudly, but is silent and prays tirelessly.
All images and text © Anna Nikonenok
By Anna Nikonenok
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