Sakha Republic, also called Yakutia, is a Russian federal republic, located North East of Siberia. Yakutia covers an area 5 times bigger than France, with only 1 million inhabitants.
Iakoutsk, the capital, is located 4890km (3038 miles) east of Moscow. Between 2017 and 2018, I spend more than 2 months documenting the life of the reindeer herders in Oymyakon region, 1000km (620 miles) from the capital. This region is known to be the coldest in the world. Temperatures could go as low as -70° (-94F) during winter.
The herders ( the Evènes ) are 19.000 in Yakutia, have their own language. I lived for several months with Sacha and his 4 herders friends, following their daily life and taking part in their activities. Sacha’s work is mainly to oversee the herd of 1000 reindeers. He is the head of the camp and spends 10 months per year in the middle of the forest.
Today, reindeer hunters are disappearing. The isolation and extreme temperatures create very difficult working conditions for them. On top of that, global warming obliges them to adapt their daily life: the weather becomes imperceptible and the temperatures are higher.
The increase of temperature (4°C the last 40 years) has dramatic consequences on their life and animals. Nomadic herders don’t know those numbers but are the first ones to observe those environmental changes.
Through this project, I want to tell the story of Sacha and his community. I would like to show this exceptional place, so big and unknown, as well as its reindeer herders whose future is uncertain.