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Two Sisters

Nadia Sablin
Year Grant Awarded 2011

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State > NY Zip Code > 11237
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Two Sisters is a series of photographs detailing the lives of two unmarried sisters living in the Leningrad region of Russia. The two women are in their seventies, but carry on the traditional way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well and making their own clothes. The vegetables the sisters harvest in the fall and the berries they gather in the summer supplement the meager pensions on which the elderly subsist in Russia. As they get older, they are less and less able to perform the grueling tasks of running their small farm and must rely on financial help from their relatives. My photographs of them are a meditation on aging, family and a sense of belonging. The house in which Aleftina and Ludmila live was built by their father. The rugs are weaved by their mother. They contribute to the home as well, with new wallpapers, hand-sewn curtains, quilts and lace. Handwritten recipes are folded to contain seeds for planting, or rolled up balls of stray hair. My photographs include portraits of the sisters, moments of their interactions and still lives in the home and garden. Their environment is as much a character as they are themselves.