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14 December 2018

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Everyday Russia


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


by Anton Unitsyn

Name: Anton Unitsyn

Age: 29

Profession: Photographer 

City: Solvychegodsk

How long have you been doing photography? What style or genre most interests you? I fell into photography by accident; I never dreamed of becoming a professional photographer. At first it was a hobby, but with time it turned into my favorite activity. I began to be drawn into photography in 2006, and became a professional in 2009. From the very beginning, I have been most interested in real, unplanned, un-staged photography. To this day I remain convinced of this and for the most part do documentary photography.

Can you give us a short description of your city? Where is it located? What is it famous for?

Solvychegodsk is in Arkhangelsk Oblast. It is a city with a great past and a quiet present. It was founded in the sixteenth century, and its name is derived from two words: salt (соль) and vychegda. Salt was the city's basic trade resource and the reason for its rise. Vychegda is the name of the river, upon which the city was founded.

What is something about your city that only locals would know?

Solvychegodsk was the cradle of the famous Stroganov dynasty. In gratitude for their wealth, as believers, they built many churches in the city – thirteen by all accounts. Solvychegodsk was a place of political exile, and was "visited" for that reason by such historical personalities as Gannibal, Pushkin's grandfather, and Joseph Stalin.

Which places or sites are a must for someone to see if they visit your city?

Vvedensky Sobor, Blagoveshchensky Sobor, the Sanatorium for Treatment with Unique Sulphurous Mud.

Anything else you would like to add?

Since the sixteenth century, as the value of salt has fallen, so has the general condition of the city. At the beginning of century there were 13 churches [built by the Stroganovs], but just 3 remain. This is largely connecte with the communist period and the persecution of churches that occured then. However, in the Soviet era the city developed through industry, yet after the fall of the USSR the majority of the city's enterprises were shuttered. Since 1992, the population of Solvychegodsk has been cut in half. At present, the city's most prosperous enterprise is the local sanatorium that offers healing treatments with unique sulphurous muds.

Your website:

Your Instagram: @unitsyn

  • Flipping for Solvychegodsk

    Devotees of parkour at the city's welcome sign.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Snowdrop Cycle

    A snow-bound motorcyle. It may or may not start up again in spring.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Snow Scene

    The Vychegda River and the fragment of an abandoned church.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Cat

    A cat warms itself on a teplotrass (above-ground heating pipe).

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Log house

    A typical wooden home build in the city's Soviet era.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Fresco in Vvedensky

    A damaged fresco inside Vvedensky Sobor.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Windows

    Fragment of a building facade.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Iconostasis

    The carved iconostasis inside Vvedensky Sobor. It was made in 1693 in the Moscow workshop of Grigory Ivanov. The icons themselves were painted by Stepan Narykov, a serf of the Stroganovs who studied abroad. 

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Snowdrop

    Snowcovered car. This one won't likely be starting up in spring.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

  • Church

    Vvedensky Sobor (Church of the Presentation of the Virgin). A wooden church of this name was built by the Stroganovs in 1565, on the banks of the river Solonikha (Usolka). In 1685-93, a new stone church was built to replace it (actually its successor) higher up on the banks. It was the first building built in so-called Stroganov Rococco.

    Anton Unitsyn / @unitsyn

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