2016 / Book
Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila
In northwest Russia, in a small village called Alekhovshchina, Nadia Sablinâ€™s aunts spend the warmer months together in the family home and live as the family has always livedâ€”chopping wood to heat the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes, and making their own clothes. Sablinâ€™s lyrical and evocative photographs, taken over seven summers, capture the small details and daily rituals of her auntsâ€™ surprisingly colorful and dreamlike days, taking us not only to another country but to another time. Alevtina and Ludmila, now in their seventies, seem both old and young, as if time itself was as seamless and cyclical as their routinesâ€”working on puzzles, sewing curtains, tatting lace, picking berries, repairing fencesâ€”and as full of the same subtle mysteries. Sablin collaborated with her aunts to recreate scenes she remembered from her childhood and to make new images of the patterns of their days. In these photographs, Sablin combines observation and invention, biography and autobiography, to tell the stories of her auntsâ€™ life together, and in the process, quilts together a thoughtful meditation on memory, aging, and belonging.