Norilsk is a Siberian city where 170 thousand people live, and is one of the largest inhabited centers in the Arctic Circle.
Between January 2012 and February 2013, Russian photographer Elena Chernyshova documented the lives of its inhabitants and their daily lives.
Days of night – Nights of day project shows how people live in a place that can only be reached by air or sea, when weather conditions allow.
In Norilsk there is only one road and one railway line that lead to the port of Dudinka, the only connection to other cities, across the Yenisei river. But isolation is only one of the elements that make the life of the inhabitants of Norilsk difficult.
The first mining and metallurgical industries were built in 1936 by prisoners of the gulags and today the city is one of the most important centers for the production of nickel and palladium. However, factories represent a serious ecological and health threat: it is estimated that two million tons of gas are released into the atmosphere each year. Life expectancy is ten years lower than in other Russian cities and the risk of getting cancer is twice as high.
Norilsk’s population is also proven by the harsh climate. Here the winter lasts 280 days a year, with temperatures ranging between -10 degrees and -55 degrees. As if that were not enough, for two months the city sinks into a long polar night, without ever seeing the sun, with heavy consequences for the physical and the psyche.
Chernyshova testifies to the daily struggle to adapt and survive in Norilsk.
The photos of Days of night – Nights of day are exhibited at the Milanese Contemporary Gallery until 5 October.