Anastasia Tsayder

Published on 18/02/14

© Ana­stasia Tsayder

For pho­to­grapher Ana­stasia Tsay­der, return­ing to a small vil­lage in rural Rus­sia in 2013 brought a rush of child­hood memor­ies. As a child, she spent her sum­mers at her grandmother’s house in Kursk, south-west Rus­sia, an exper­i­ence she recalls today with great fond­ness, a feel­ing that only intens­i­fied dur­ing her return last year. In her photo series, Mzensk, Tsay­der cap­tures the intim­ate details of the interi­ors of a tra­di­tional Rus­sian vil­lage in a mel­an­cholic low light; the floral pat­terns, net cur­tains, wooden fur­niture and black-and-white pho­to­graphs all con­vey a bygone era and a sim­pler age. The series is of a piece with Tsayder’s wider body of work, which leans towards square images that frame care­fully arranged com­pos­i­tions. “When I star­ted tak­ing pic­tures for Mzensk I was abso­lutely charmed by what I’ve dis­covered,” said Tsay­der. “At the same time I was reread­ing Nikolai Leskov’s prose about a Rus­sian province where everything changes but everything stays the same, that’s why I called the series Mzensk, which is where some of his works were set.

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