I’m fascinated by people living on the fringes of society, and the haunted, abandoned Soviet mining town Pyramiden has been on my bucket list for the past eight years.
Standing in Pyramiden, perched on a glacier, with guns out for polar bear protection and overseen by the Northern most statue of Lenin (78.6561) is terrifying yet inspiring. The isolation and the desolation of the place is unmatched, the power, beauty and the decay all wrapped up in one scent while the blistering 100km winds pound on your face reminding you winter is coming.
In its glory days life here was vibrant and rich, comrades danced, sang and slaved to the hum of the machines, while the KGB watched on from the shadows. Not long after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the order came down for Pyramiden to close, and everyone had mere hours to pack their lives into a suitcase and move back to the mainland. One decision that impacted the lives of over one thousand residents forever.
It is as if Pyramiden has just been thawed out of a glacier, preserved and frozen in time and a true testimony to the spirit of Russian endeavour. Left standing alone in the abandoned buildings your heart pounds… the realisation of life’s fragility is reinforced as the corroding structures mirrors the hopes and dreams of all who lived here.
Once one of the purest expressions of Communism in the Soviet Union, now the empty echos of the workers song whisper in the wind, down the halls and they ache through the melting ice. What year will Lenin will be submerged in rising waters and all that remains will be distant memories?
All we have is this moment and the beauty that we find – nothing is ever forever.
About Jonathan May
Photography has been one amazing journey, teaching me so much about life and taking me all over the world. The beautiful thing is with technology I feel I am constantly learning and evolving.
My passion started in boarding school, if I wasn’t playing Rugby or basketball I would have a camera in my hand, and my high school submission exhibited as part of Art Express.
After school, I started working in publishing for three years and was surrounded by imagery and photography on a daily basis. I then transitioned to advertising where I learnt how the clogs turn in agency land but realised I needed more so I started studying and assisting in 2006 and shooting in 2009.
In the last 6 years, I have lived in 6 countries in 4 continents…Sydney, Paris, Moscow, Kenya, The Ivory Coast and Los Angeles. Working on some incredible projects with amazing people all over the world, and for that, I am truly grateful.
With my imagery I am always focused on evoking emotion from the viewer the goal from the start has always been simple storytelling.
In my spare time, I am usually surfing, choking sweaty men in a Jiu-Jitsu class or chilling with my family on the northern beaches.
You can find Jonathan May on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Jonathan May. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.