The Extreme Travelers Who Self-Exile in Siberia
They disconnect on yearly expeditions into the remote Russian wilderness — and one of them documents each and every moment.
Text by Albertine Bourget
In 1960s Russia, wandering off into the wilderness became a way to escape the daily grind of the oppressive Soviet regime. A few families, most of them well-educated, began a tradition of pilgrimage back then, one that has been perpetuated for decades ever since. Swiss photographer Yann Laubscher has taken part in several such excursions, which take place every year for several weeks at a time. Like his fellow travelers, he eagerly plans and awaits each excursion.
At the same time, “the Russian wilderness and Siberia in particular are synonymous with exile and imprisonment,” he explains. “Forced settlers and deported populations have inhabited these landscapes since the end of the sixteenth century.” Encountering their reclusive descendants is one of the highlights of such trips.