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  • Writer's pictureKaisern Chen

Russia, through my lens!

Updated: 2 days ago

This blog is the continuation of my original Russia, uncovered! (2015 ~ 2022) for my unwavering love of Russia and the people in Russia - the unforgettable memories!

In Russia I felt for the first time like a full human being. No color prejudice like in Mississippi, no color prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being.

~ Paul Robeson - American bass-baritone


Each year during the late summer to the the first chill of fall, usually October, when the rain intensifies, it is the time for the entire Russia, and many Slavic people in other nations, to engage in a forest mushroom picking, like a national sport.

The mushrooms, in fact, fungi, grow between April and October in the backyard, parks, and virgin forests all over Russia. But it is the late summer to early fall to witness the type of mass movement of mushroom picking. I have no doubt the mushrooms are some of the best in the world. The taste (raw or cooked) confirmed my assumption.

The farmer in the picture who was selling her mushroom on the roadside offered me a large mushroom as a gift, as I appeared as a clueless tourist. The Russians, particularly those in the villages that we visit, always offer something to the visitors (strangers as we are) some of their tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, sometimes tea, or some raw honey for nothing in return. Plain friendly!

Mushroom vendor on the roadside, Yaroslavl Oblast August 2023

Father Maksim family ready for the school opening ceremony, a cultural event across Russia and some nations of former Soviet Union, Tutayev, Yaroslavl Oblast September 1, 2023

Babushka on the bench, school opening day, Tutayev, Yaroslavl Oblast September 1, 2023

Liza Khomyakova, 17, a Russian actress who came to Rybinsk to film a series which she plays a role and, together with the filming crew and other actors and actresses, stay here - Na Vvedenskiy Hotel - a lovely hotel situated right on the bank of the Volga River, owned by my dearest friend, Yury Chernykh, who purchased the property, a former custom house building, and turned it into a lovely and homey hotel. Na Vvedenskiy has been like my home in Rybinsk for many years. I stumbled into Liza at the hotel and took a few quick snaps with her.

The first few snapshots of Liza exhibited very much her youth therefore I asked her out to shoot in the early morning the next day for some different pictures, and this is one of those.

Liza Khomyakova, Russian actress, by the Volga River, Rybinsk September 2023

Father Alibij and his church, Uchma, Myshkin, Yaroslavl Oblast September 2023

A charming, although somewhat small, where Father Alibij ministered in Uchma, Myshkin, Yaroslavl Oblast, is to go on an expansion which draws my curiousity to revisit in the future.

The construction worker who is working on Father Alibij's church, Uchma, Myshkin, Yaroslavl Oblast September 2023

The young teens of Fofantsevo, Vologda Oblast September 2023

Village farmer fetching water from well, Safronovo, Yaroslavl Oblast September 2023

Veronica Butalina, an independent musician based in Yaroslavl City, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, who composed her own scores, recording her own play of instruments and vocal.

Veronica became a friend of mine purely by accident as she was a member of a music band, before she turned independent, performing on a private Volga River Cruise where a good friend of mine threw a birthday party that included the live band and singing which Veronica was a part of. It was at beautiful sunset time that I was on the top deck of the cruise taking pictures and spotted a lovely young girl in light purple dress that matches the ambient color of the beautiful August sunset in northern Russia, I had to take some pictures of her! And so started the never ending photo sessions each time I visited this part of Russia.

Veronica came all the way from her city, Yaroslavl, about 80km away, to visit me in Rybinsk, to have some conversations, coffees and of course pictures! Again around the place I stay, right on the bank of the beautiful Volga River.

Veronica Butalina, musician, by the Volga River, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast September 2023

Love in Moscow - Dasha and Jan, Dorogomilovo District, Moscow September 2023

Zlata Zagranovskaya, a lovely young Russian I spotted while wandering around Moscow on e-scooter and asked to photograph, Moscow September 2023

Love in Moscow, Russia September 2023

Anastasia, Moscow September 2023

Anna Borodina, Moscow September 2023

Sofie, on Moscow Metro September 2023

Praskovya Vinnik, Moscow September 2023

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