Name: Liailia Gimadeeva

Age: 25

Profession: Photographer

City: Astrakhan 

How long have you been doing photography? What style or genre most interests you? 
I have been shooting since I was in school, but began to seriously study photography thanks to the PhotoDepartment (St. Petersburg). I am interested in all types of photography, everything, but I am especially interested in street photography, even sometimes the most casual stuff.

Where did you take photos for this essay?

I shot in Astrakhan Oblast, my home village of Starokucherganovka, the city center and Lake Baskunchak.

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

In the summer residents here wait not for fish or crops but midges, mosquitoes and locusts. They wait for them in order so that their passing will soon follow.

In Astrakhan Oblast one often sees aliens, and the Chupacabra lives here.

The majority of the city’s residents dream of becoming not a fisherman, not the boss of a tomato or watermelon plantation, but a worker at Gazprom.

Everyone always asks me, “So are there good beaches to enjoy?” In reality, in Astrakhan there are no banks of the sea, because of the multitude of rivers and streams that flow in from the Volga-Akhtubinsky watershed. You can only get to the sea by power boat, and when you get there, you do not have the impression that you are seeing what you expected.

In Astrakhan for several decades no one has been eating red caviar by the “basinful” or salmon by the ton.

Oh, there is so much more I could say...

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

When you come to visit visit me, you will first visit the Astrakhan kremlin, eat ice cream on Lenin Square, ride a bicycle along the central embankment, and rest on the grass near Swan Lake. But then the most interesting part begins.

I will take you to my native village, where we will eat fried eggplant with tomatoes, and bliny with pike caviar, and then we will head off to explore the steppe. There, warm winds carry the smell of grass and dry earth, and European bee-eaters fly into pink sunsets. Then we will head to some sort of village disco and dance to the music of “Hands Up” (Ruki Vverkh) and of course fall in love with someone there... The next day we will get up early, gather cucumbers, dried fish, rods and worms, and go fishing and swimming in the cool waters of the Volga.

And we also need to go to Baskunchak, to the Buddhist shrine, to Sarai-Batu, to the sand dunes and.... Oh, I could keep writing about this forever! And don’t forget that we will go visit my grampa at his dacha, in order to help him harvest pears, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, melons and watermelons.

Waiting for your visit...!

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