PEOPLE OF COLD
In Magadan, a remote city in northeastern Russia, the winter lasts from October to June. In the warmest month of August, the average monthly temperature is 15 degrees Celsius.
The average monthly water temperature in the Sea of Okhotsk in summer is 5 degrees. Not many people dare to swim. But some still adapt to extreme temperature conditions and swim in the cold water even in winter. People do it alone, or in groups. For some of them, this is a kind of sport, for others a way of tempering and adapting to low temperatures.
Living in conditions unsuitable for an unprotected and unprepared person is about challenging oneself each day; therefore winter swimming is a special way of adapting to the environment.
In the winter I photographed winter swimmers — “walruses” — in Magadan. I attended their training sessions on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, did a warm-up with them, doused myself in cold water and joined them for a warm-up run to understand what was driving these people. I took portraits as the “walruses” emerged from their ice hole, trying to find and consider the common features that unite my heroes and their natural environment.