Norilsk is one of the most isolated cities on Earth with a population of more than 170 000. The city, its mines and metallurgical factories were constructed by prisoners of the Gulag. With 60% of the present population involved in the industrial process, this documentary aims to investigate human adaptation to extreme climate, ecological disaster and isolation. Norilsk is the 7th most polluted city in the world. The average temperature is -10C, reaching lows of -55C in winter, when for two months the city is plunged into polar night. The living conditions of the people of Norilsk are unique, making their plight incomparable.
Elena Chernyshova is a Russian documentary photographer, based in France. She was born in 1981 in Moscow, USSR. A self-taught photographer, she developed a passion for this visual language during her studies at an architectural academy. After two years of work as an architect, Elena quit her job and cycled with Gael de Cevoisier from Toulouse to Vladivostok and back again: 30,000 kilometres, 26 countries, 1,004 days of cultural, human, and challenging experiences. The trip led to her decision to become a photographer.
Photography for her is a way of investigating the daily life of different groups and communities in the context of environmental, political, and economic change. Her work aims at visualizing the impact of human activity, ways of adaptation, and diversity of lifestyles.
In 2011 Elena received a grant from the Lagardère Foundation to create the photo documentary ‘Days of Night – Nights of Day’ about the daily life of the industrial city of Norilsk, 400 kilometres to north of the arctic Circle in Siberia.
Elena’s work has been published in National Geographic, Le Monde, Internazionale, Days Japan, A/R magazine, Newsweek Russia, and Ecology and Life.