Exploring Russian Stereotypes in the World’s Coldest City

Playing with Russian clichés seen from a western perspective and embracing a fictional documentary approach, Jakob Schnetz photographs scenes from the theatre and the cinema industry and combines them with the ordinary Soviet reality.


This series has been realised in Yakutsk, in the far east of Russia – the coldest city in the world. Solely, this superlative gives birth to images in someone's mind; images of bleakness, images that have been firmly established in western-European socialised minds over the last decades. Every image creates a new cliché or consolidates an old one. Especially as a foreign photographer, it seems to be almost impossible not to reproduce any clichés.

The photographic work emerged between movie sets, theatres, and other places of artificial reality and the alleged mundane reality of life in Yakutsk. Uniting fictive scenarios with such being created under "documentary“ circumstances, the series attempts to seize clichés, but their validity stays blurred. A search for traces between fiction and alleged reality at the borders of authenticity and documentary photography.

Pictures and text by .







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Jakob Schnetz (1991) is a photographer based in Hanover, Germany and Münster, Ireland. He studied documentary photography and photojournalism in Hanover and Tomsk, Russia and works in the fields of editorial, portrait, and documentary photography. His work focuses on personal long-term projects mainly dealing with societal structures. Find him on PHmuseum.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

Portfolio review month, April 2019 | PHmuseum Education
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