68.9733° N, 33.0856° E

This is a place with no sunshine in winter and no night in summer. This is a place where sometimes in the cold night the sky lights up with magic colors, painting the dark landscape into incredible colors. This is a place where you feel like at the end of the land. This is where modern hotels have grown next to ghost towns. This all is the Russian north.

My first trip here took place in 2020 after I saw northern lights (Aurora Borealis) photo of my favorite photographer. It became a kind of quest and a test of my luck. As soon as I got off the plane, I felt the unique atmosphere of the place. An icy desert with sparse vegetation, where the airport of the city of Murmansk is located, and a huge sign “capital of the Arctic”, burning in bright blue, and illuminating the area of the airport square.

Every time you get back to hotel at night and the next morning after a few hours of sleep you go out into the dark again. You start getting a feeling of never ending dream, when there’s no one to wake you up in this emptiness of wind and darkness.

Taking photos here is difficult, there is a constant feeling of a parallel reality. There is a village Teriberka, 120 km from Murmansk. Once it was a large fishing settlement, now – a ghost town. My first trip was unsuccessful for aurora, but I saw the Russian north in all its glory…

A few months later, I decided to go again and try my luck.

This time just an hour after leaving the plane, I saw the northern lights. It is difficult to find words to explain the emotions it evokes. For sure a feeling of being part of something unique and unrepeatable.

This time on the way from the airport to Teriberka I could not take my eyes off the skies outside the window, asking the driver to stop every few kilometers in the middle of the snowy desert at -37℃ to look at the sky, which was shimmering with incredible colours.

When you shoot in the icy tundra, time freezes like air around, and this is an indescribable feeling. Creaky silence around, breath of icy air, and northern lights. Teriberka this time opened from the other side. It was no longer polar night, and one could see all the charm of this place. For many people, this will seem like an unattractive sight: abandoned houses and the emptiness of the snowy tundra. For me it is a real aesthetic pleasure.

Traces of human activity, which are immersed deep in the snow, and the harsh landscapes of the Russian north. Scorching cold wind, dim northern sun and white desert all around…


Igor Yeromenko