Herders on the Edge
Between the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea, Kamchatka lies on the extreme eastern shore of Siberia, nine time zones from Moscow. Approximately the size of Great Britain and lying between the same latitudes, this wild, volcanic peninsula forms part of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’. Yet without the benefit of the Gulf Stream, the temperature drops to a brittle 60 degrees below zero in winter. Arctic winds scour the Bering sea-ice and up across the rolling tundra to buffet the sealskin door of a Koryak karanga (tent).
In the short arctic summer, a profusion of berries, lichens and mosses overlay the permafrost and salmon run rivers in their millions. Here is the traditional home of the resilient reindeer herders and salmon fishers of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Related to the Canadian Inuit and the North American Indians, the Koryak, Eveni, Chukchi and Itel'men are four of the 26 indigenous 'Peoples of the North' scattered across the open tundra and forested taiga of Siberia. This image represent three trips I made in autumn, winter and spring to document their lives.