My country is very big and multifaceted, but a lot of the cities look identical. I asked myself: ‘What unique feature does my city have?’ There is a legend in Russia that says everybody can find a bride in Ivanovo, because there are so many young and beautiful girls there. It all started in Soviet times, when the city was the center of the USSR textile industry and a lot of young girls came there in pursuit of employment. Most of them are grannies today, but everybody in Russia and ex-Soviet countries still believe and remember it as “The City of Brides.”—Alena Zhandarova
Photographer Alena Zhandarova grew up in Ivanovo, a former textile center in Russia. Her series The City of Brides, the nickname for her hometown, was inspired by a legend from Soviet times that boasted “anybody in Ivanovo could find a bride.” Zhandaraova creates her own interpretation of the legend in a series of unique portraits of young women in Ivanovo adorning themselves with various household items that seem to take on a life of their own.
Zhandarova has crafted a handmade limited edition artist’s book with a fabric cover and an embroidered title. The book includes 15 unbound pages and is sealed shut with wax. You can find a copy here.
Feature Shoot Contributing Editor Julia Sabot is the Associate Photo Editor at Dwell.