Living on the Pole of Cold
The people of Oymyakon, situated in Yakutia in Eastern Siberia and also known as the Pole of Cold, brave a distinctly continental climate, characterized by long winters with temperatures below 45° C and short summers. The place is considered the coldest permanently inhabited settlement on Earth, following the recorded negative temperatures of -71.2° C in 1924. Living on a permafrost land, the people are mainly engaged in herding cows, horses and reindeer. As there is no running water in their homes, the people have very limited access to water. The village of Oymyakon is located on the left bank of the Indigirka River and is connected to nearby settlements such as Bereg-Yurdya and Tomtor. All of this area belongs to the Oymyakonsky District and has a population of about 2000 people. Despite having central heating, provided by hot water that is heated by coal and then runs through the pipes in the villages, the houses do not have sanitary facilities inside. As a very isolated place, the community of Oymyakonsky District hope that the government of Yakutia will assign them a specific geo-climatic status in order to benefit from financial aid for the construction of the necessary infrastructures for everyday life and animal husbandry.
Natalya Saprunova, born in the arctic region of Russia in Murmansk, is a freelance documentary photographer based in Paris, France. Natalya is a member of the French photo agency, Zeppelin. She worked as a French Teacher, then went on to study documentary photojournalism at the Ecole des Métiers de l’Information in Paris and finally, became a French citizen. In Russia, Natalya worked as a photographer for a daily newspaper in Murmansk. She now teaches photography at Graine de Photographe school in Paris and continues her work with documentary photography, including significant topics such as the transformation of societies, environment, identity, youth, spirituality and femininity.