Village chic: uncovering the discreet charm of Russian rural interiors

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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