Instagram account @eto_zima celebrates the mundane yet beautiful everyday details that capture Russia’s changing seasons. Be it a sunset captured in a puddle of summer rain, or the fur coats worn on crowded commuter trains in winter, the images provide the reflective and sometimes tongue-in-cheek take needed to survive the extremes of Russia’s climate.
Sima Yanushpolskaya, the photographer behind @eto_zima, started the account in February 2019, after sharing a picture of dust-coated snow piles in St Petersburg with the word “vesna” — “spring” in English. While dirty slush might not be the traditional symbol of spring, the unlikely pairing struck a chord with Russians on social media as the lingering symbol of a never-ending winter.
The viral success prompted Yanushpolskaya to set up @eto_zima, to share her witty visual notes, and to “train her eye”, the photographer told The Calvert Journal. The account was originally called @eto_vesna (or, “it’s spring”), and still changes its name in line with the seasons — fittingly, “eto zima” means “it’s winter” in Russian.
Today, @eto_zima mixes artistic and documentary photography, providing an insightful, intimate take on Russian reality. Yanushpolskaya’s work proves that beauty really is everywhere — and even the unsightly can be saved with a strong dose of humour. Even snow turned grey from pollution can be photographed to look like shifting sands.
The shots that Yanushpolskaya holds dearest include footage of children playing in the waves during a storm in southern Russia and a video of an old closet falling dramatically from a window — an unlikely event she was lucky enough to spot during a walk in St Petersburg.