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 severe.
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.