Journey to the White Sea: looking for light at the end of the world

Six Stories from the Russian North

10 February 2015

Japanese photographer Sohei Yasui’s depiction of the Russian North is different to the archetypal images of an austere snowy landscape. His North is enchanting and soft, full of smells of pine forest and sea salt. In the summer of 2013 Yasui travelled to the White Sea archipelago in Karelia, between Murmansk and Petrozavodsk. The resulting photo series, White Sea, is a reflection of his ten year-long fascination with the region.

To capture the spirit of a region he has long been fascinated by, Yasui travelled to the White Sea archipelago in Karelia in 2013.

To capture the spirit of a region he has long been fascinated by, Yasui travelled to the White Sea archipelago in Karelia in 2013.

The Karelian Republic straddles the Arctic Circle and is situated between Murmansk and Petrozavodsk.

The Karelian Republic straddles the Arctic Circle and is situated between Murmansk and Petrozavodsk.

Yasui was charmed by his isolated location with its calmness and soft light.

Yasui was charmed by his isolated location with its calmness and soft light.

“Some of the people I've portrayed are locals, while others were on holiday enjoying nature,” says Yasui.

“Some of the people I've portrayed are locals, while others were on holiday enjoying nature,” says Yasui.

“A man said to me, ‘Don’t go the north, otherwise you’ll be so fascinated by beauty of land never come back…’” says Sohei Yasui.  “These were people I met who came to enjoy the silence,” he says.

“A man said to me, ‘Don’t go the north, otherwise you’ll be so fascinated by beauty of land never come back…’” says Sohei Yasui. “These were people I met who came to enjoy the silence,” he says.

“So that helped me capture the poetic emotion that I wanted to have in my images.”

“So that helped me capture the poetic emotion that I wanted to have in my images.”

Sohei Yasui was born in 1983 in Kanagawa, Japan.

Sohei Yasui was born in 1983 in Kanagawa, Japan.

After graduating from Nippon Photography Institute he moved to Kazan, Russia, and lived there for six years.

After graduating from Nippon Photography Institute he moved to Kazan, Russia, and lived there for six years.

While studying journalism at Kazan Federal University he documented daily life in Russia and researched contemporary Russian photography.

While studying journalism at Kazan Federal University he documented daily life in Russia and researched contemporary Russian photography.

Yasui’s work involves a meticulous exploration of his surroundings.

Yasui’s work involves a meticulous exploration of his surroundings.

He currently lives in Japan.

He currently lives in Japan.

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