More and more Russian men have left their homes in the countryside to seek work, leading to the unlikely rise of the village matriarchs and their tough farm daughters.
Despite the fact that rural areas make up a large part of Russia’s six and a half million square miles territory, small village communities often remain unseen. Most people move to big cities in search of work and better perspectives, and villages, deprived of infrastructure and state funding, are left to steady decline. At the same time, life there doesn’t stop. Russian photographer Olya Ivanova is one of a few people who captures contemporary life of the remote communities.
Ivanova started visiting villages all over the country in 2009 while working as a photographer for a Russian magazine. She instantly fell in love with the atmosphere.
“There is a special feeling of freedom, mainly due to the way of communication, totally different from customs of the city,” she explains. “There are no strangers, everyone is involved. The relationship could be anything but formal, estranged, cold. At times there are real dramas and intrigues but everyone cares about everyone else. I discovered a closed community of people living the life completely different from mine, so my key interest was to capture it from the inside.”