Polyarnye Nochi is a continuation of Simon’s exploration of
contemporary Russian society, and builds on the work from his critically
acclaimed book, Motherland.
Simon Robert’s work in its silver blue tones captures the raw,
unusual beauty of Russia’s Arctic periphery. Polyarnye Nochi, a series
of photographs which follow on from Roberts’ critically acclaimed book
Motherland (Chris Boot Ltd, 2007), portrays the Russia at its most
The bleak and barren landscapes speak of a loss, abandonment and a
melancholy that are realities of life in a land ‘famous for its
misfortunes, famous for the misery of its numberless humble lives’ (V.
Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature, Harcourt, New York, 1981).
Using the perpetual dusk of Russia’s far North, Roberts encapsulates
the natural light that was available for only a few hours each day
during Polyarnye Nochi (Polar Nights), the period from December until
mid-January when the sun remains below the horizon. This ethereal light
has been depicted by many artists from the master realists of the
nineteenth century, to the latest art house film directors: Zviagentsev,
Khlebnikov, Popogrebsky and Kravchuk. Its haunting blueness has
inspired artists to convey the bitter cold of winter and the hardship it
brings for the people that inhabit this extreme climate.