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17 December 2018

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Everyday Russia


Tuesday, September 27, 2016


by Kristina Brazhnikova

Name: Kristina Brazhnikova

Age: 28

Profession: Photographer

City: Voronezh

How long have you been doing photography? What style or genre most interests you? 

My first attempts at photography were when I was 16, when I tried to shoot landscapes on a compact film camera nicknamed a мыльница. When I was a student, I studied in a photo studio, and since 2010 I have been earning money from my photography. In 2013 I began to work as a photojournalist. This is the style I most enjoy, along with documentary photography.

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

Voronezh is a city of a million souls located about 500 km south of Moscow. It made its mark in history as the place where Peter the Great decided to build Russia's first regular naval fleet (in the year 1700) During World War II, Voronezh was about 90 percent decimated by the fighting, so very few old buildings remain. Today it is a very statistically average post-Soviet city, yet it would be untrue to call it depressing. In recent years, the city has had all sorts of festivals of art and culture, all organized at a rather high level. What is more, students from all over the country come to study in Voronezh, since there are many universities here.

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

Voronezh Reservoir is a rather dirty water source. Legend has it that some foreign company offered to clean it up for free, on the condition that anything found on its bottom would become their property. The powers that be refused, because there are treasures down there. 

There is another belief that Voronezh is home to Russia's most beautiful girls. According to that legend, Peter the Great had beautiful women brought here from all over Russia, in order that they would marry shipbuilders, so that the latter would settle in the city.

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

The reservoir is one of my favorite places in the city. It is very large, and it is nice to walk along its banks in the summer, or along the sandy beaches, or through the marshy thickets. And in the winter, when the frosts cover it with thick ice, you can stroll right out onto the reservoir, and you feel not as if you are in the middle of a city of a million people, but somewhere in the snowy netherlands.

There are many small monuments in the city: to The Cat from Lizyukov Street (a Soviet era animated film hero), to White Bim (a famous dog from Russian literature), to The Stranger, and to the first Soviet paratroopers. It's very nice to walk along the streets and courtyards of the historical center, through the restored Central Park (which connects to a forest), and the Scarlet Sails park.

Your website:

Your Instagram: @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Bird's Eye View

    The private sector. Therae are many private homes surrounding the reservoir. Several of them have been there for hundreds of years, while others are torn down and restored. Historically, the city arose along the river, which later was turned into a reservoir.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Snow

    Voronezh is in Russia's moderate climate belt. Yet a few times each winter there are serious snows, which essentially paralyze the city.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Bikers

    New Year's Bike Parade, in which locals gather for a costumed ride. Even a two week layer of snow did not stop them.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Ship

    In the middle of the Voronezh Reservoir is a monument to the Mercury. It is barely visible from the shore and can only be visited by boat or, when the reservoir has frozen over, on foot. Unfortunately, vandals regularly damage it.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Ice

    There is an island in the middle of the reservoir, which has a memorial cross, as well as picnic tables. Young couples often come here to get photographed. But you can only get there across the ice or in a boat.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Meat

    In small stores one can still find old Soviet counters and equipment. You feel almost as if you are traveling back in time.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Yoga

    In the summer, the city parks host free sport activities. At one of our yoga sessions a pup showed up and gave us master class in downward facing dog.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Parade

    At the beginning of June, Voronezh has an International Platonov Arts Festival. The city hosts modern productions by European and Russian theaters, musicians, exhibitions and a parade of street performers.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Swimming

    Within the city limits there is no place where, officially, one can swim, since the condition of the water in the reservoir is less than optimal. The beach at Gorky Sanatorium is one of the few places where people are not afraid to swim, even though it is at the very head of the reservoir.

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

  • Trees

    There are many places in Voronezh that you can go for a walk and feel like you are not in a city at all. 

    Kristina Brazhnikova / @kristina.brazhnikova

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