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Courtesy of 

Nadya Areshina

Faces of Humanity Series

Nadya Areshina

Highly Commended

Nadezhda Krylova (neè Areshina) is a documentary and portrait photographer. She was born in 1986 in St. Petersburg. She studied Documentary Photography at the School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc in St. Petersburg between 2019 and 2021.

Her projects are aimed at examining communities, territorial regions, and the people who live there, finding out about their customs, unique ways and how they have adapted to modern living. She sees the importance of paying attention to those structures and phenomenons which reflect the connection between the environment and the natural world. Project ‘Altai’ is dedicated to a specific region in Russia.

Finalist – LensCulture Portrait awards, Shortlisted – the Felix Schoeller Photo Award, Sony World Photography Awards 2022, Julia Margareth Cameron award, Semi-finalist – Head On Portrait Award 2021, winner – BEARR Trust 30th Anniversary Photography Competition “Side by Side”.


Altai republic, Russia



The Altai region is located at the border area of South Siberia. For many centuries civilizations and cultures intertwined and accumulated on the Altai land. Religious beliefs of Old Ritualists and other migrants, pagan cults of nomad tribes, and shaman traditions formed the unique value of that space.

Even more cultural layers appeared as a result of the Altai lands being annexed to the Russian Empire in the XVIII century and the Soviet regime coming to power and subsequently collapsing. Newly formed economic relations drive Altai`s population to adapt; developing tourism complemented by the culture`s prominent ethnicity is the local inhabitants` major occupation.

Recently Altai has acquired new attributes to its role. The society whose unifying ideas and purposes had faded after the collapse of the USSR began to seek out such notions that could heal and satisfy its spiritual needs. Altai is the place where one can find a strong connection between humans and nature; it`s a destination for a spiritual pilgrimage and “a place of power”.

After having been lured by the mystical pull of this place, I set out to discover what kind of life is led by the inhabitants of this land. Following in the nomads` steps, I traveled the entire length of Chuya Highway that crosses Altai from east to west, photographing the people I met along the way. I sought to learn how modern people live in such conditions; those whose identity was once determined by their family and ancestry residing in the land that holds and combines different ethnicities, cultures, and religions?

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