Ekaterina Vasilyeva: After The Firebird

A search for magic and superstition in a photographer’s family village.

Over the last six years, photographer Ekaterina Vasilyeva has have been documenting people from the small village of Andrushino in the Pskov region. Her series is guided by a search for covert and overt manifestations of magic, for occurrences that unsettle the rational picture of the world most of us take for granted today. 

Ekaterina writes:

“My story begins a long time ago when my grandparents, both from the Pskov region (Russia), met in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), got married and stayed there for the rest of their lives. Yet it could have turned out very differently, had I, now a modern city dweller, been born among those flowering fields and hard-working people.

In his village, my grandfather used to be called a gypsy because he could predict the approaching of someone’s death. As for his own life, he always knew that he would survive two wars without injury. And so it happened. My grandmother, he said, would outlive him by exactly ten years. This prediction also came true.

Immersed in the fabulous world of folklore, I realised that local people’s beliefs and superstitions, charms and rituals, 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.”

Ekaterina Vasilyeva is a Russian photographer from St. Petersburg, working at the intersection of documentary and art photography. Her projects explores changes in the territories over time in the context of environment issues, human interactions, personal relationship and the geographic mythologies.

This story has been published partially at Critical Mess, Wobneb Magazine, Art Narratives, Dodho Magazine, C41Magazine, PDN magazine, LensCulture and others.

See more of Vasilyeva's work on her website or Facebook.