Take a look at Russia’s most secluded region through the eyes of photographer Boris Register

Mysovka village Kaliningrad region. 2018

Mysovka village Kaliningrad region. 2018

Boris Register
In his project named ‘Ellipse of time’, Boris Register captures the evasive spirit of Kaliningrad, Russia’s semi-exclave on the Baltic Sea.

The Russian province of Kaliningrad is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic Coast. Previously known as Königsberg, it used to be a cultural and administrative center of Prussia and, later, the German Empire.

At the end of World War II in 1945, the city became integrated into the Soviet Union and changed its name to Kaliningrad.

Photographer Boris Register moved to Kaliningrad from the Uzbek Soviet Republic, along with many other ethnic Russians, who flocked to their country of origin after the USSR collapsed in 1991.

That same year, 1991, the photographer started documenting the transformation of Kaliningrad and its surroundings, its people and the way they absorbed and sustained the Prussian and German legacy of the region. It was a turning point in the photographer’s creative life, which inspired him to conceive the idea lying at the core of the ongoing project named ‘Ellipse of time’.

In the framework of the project, Boris Register aspires to reflect on how this historical area, secluded from mainland Russia, changed under the influence of Russian language, culture and people, who gave it a new identity that has eclipsed the old one.

Boris Register explained the idea behind the project: “[Bygone time] remembers the clatter of hooves of knightly horses on the pavement and the tolling of the first bell of the old church. A new era arrived, a new person, which overshadowed this past, replaced it with its own slogans, language, culture and traditions.”

The photographer is interested in analyzing how new residents coexist with remnants of the bygone culture.

Yasnoye settlement Kaliningrad region. 2019

“Every day, including today, makes the past. We simply don’t look back and don’t see that another day has passed into history,” the photographer once said.

Ordinary people who live in Kaliningrad and its surroundings are the main subjects of his photographs. Some of the pictures evoke inexplicable sorrow while others give hope and exude happiness.

In 2016, Boris Register became one of the winners of the Alfred Fried Photography Award.

This is how the jury described his photography:

“Boris Register, born in 1963 in Tashkent, Uzbek Soviet Republic, is one of the Russian documentary photographers who works with silence. With the raw poetry of daily life. The life which does not bear anything sensational. And nothing pompous. He is with the people who are generally called the ‘ordinary people’. He respects the inconspicuousness of the people living at the periphery. The Russian Far West: Kaliningrad. Once a fought over territory, a war zone, a disaster zone, a place from which people were driven away and which was conquered. Now a periphery, but still laden with history. And now: a small village, playing ground, sanctuary for old people. The peace of the province. The peace on the track along the fields leading into the woods.”

Click here to see stunning Soviet riviera PHOTOS through the lens of Belgian photographer Carl De Keyzer.

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