New East Digital Archive

After the firebird: tales of magic from Russia’s Pskov region

7 September 2017

St Petersburg-based photographer Ekaterina Vasilyeva has spent six years documenting the tiny village of Andrushino in Russia’s western Pskov region. Born of intrigue sparked by Vasilyeva’s own grandparents, her self-published project After the Firebird delves into the magic and mystery of folklore and superstition.

Vasilyeva reflects on how things might have been different had her grandparents, both originally from the Pskov region, not met and settled in St Petersburg, where the photographer grew up and calls home. Despite the urban environment, village life and local folklore have shaped Vasilyeva’s relationship with her grandparents and her view on the world; the photographer notes that she had long been “subconsciously looking for covert and overt manifestations of magic”.

“I realised that local people’s beliefs and superstitions, charms and rituals, tales and fables are not just a warehouse of archetypes of the collective unconscious, but an immediate response of the collective soul to the mysterious currents of the natural elements,” Vasilyeva says of her experience documenting the inhabitants of Andrushino through word and image.

You can purchase or find out more about After the Firebird here.