Ekaterina Vasilyeva: Chalk

Ekaterina Vasilyeva: Chalk
International Photography Grant 2019

2 years of living in Canterbury, Kent. Returning home to St. Petersburg. Feeling that something is not done yet. Memory draws the White Cliffs. Nature, objects and people around them look a bit melancholic and frozen in time. By its nature the white color somewhat neutralizes the effect of poly-chrome flowers, and indeed the entire material world. Not surprising that in many cultures there are such metaphorical markers as a snowy Winter, the white memory of the past, ice chilling vastness. Therefore it can be easily understood the sufficiently frequent correlation the white with the void space, disembodying , fading, with icy silence, and so on.
To see the true form of the cliffs you must be ”dive” into contact with them. When there has been a possibility of returning to Kent for 5 weeks I undertook a new attempt to pass through the kilometers of space itself and find personal meaning in almost daily walks along the cliffs and the sea shore. And in an amazing way the time returned me my previous 2 years in Kent. A search of Lost Time began.
The White Cliffs are made of white chalk. The chalk is just like the kind used on chalkboards. Long ago, the whole place was at the bottom of a sea. Many tiny sea creatures died. They left their bones and shells there. The bones and shells were pressed together. They turned into chalk.
Heavy rain is not healthy for chalk cliffs. The top layer of the porous stone absorbs rainwater and becomes much heavier than normal. Meanwhile, the chalk down at sea level is being eroded by the tide. Eventually, the weakened lower levels can’t support the weight on top, and a slice of the whole cliff crumbles.
To invaders sailing from Europe, the sheer walls make England appear to be a “fortress built by Nature for herself,” as Shakespeare described it. Defenders on the high cliffs rained defiance down upon Julius Caesar’s legions 2,100 years ago, and again on the Norman conquerors 11 centuries later – although both invading armies managed to make successful landfalls.
Being there I feel thrown back to the very basics of my being. Unobtrusive colors and sounds that make up for lack of excitement in intensity. Everything feels huge. Loud and vast and wide.

Ekaterina Vasilyeva (born in Russia, St. Petersburg, 1977) is an independent photographer, working at the intersection of the genre, documentary and art photography.

Website: www.ekaterinavasilyeva.ru

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International Photography Grant 2019