Russian photographer Elena Shumilova spends each day on her family farm in the Russian countryside capturing her young boys as they explore the lakeside village with their animal companions. At night, after everyone has gone to bed, she pours over the sun-drenched imagery, processing the day’s memories.
Shumilova’s farm, located along the lake outside of the city of Tver, houses all different species of creature, from cows to chickens, geese to sheep. The children, now three and six years of age, enjoy a close connection with the animals, most particularly their alabai dog Misha. The family, explains the artist, is composed not only of humans but of all sorts of fuzzy critters, who are loved and cherished by adults and children alike.
Some of the images are staged where others are candid, blurring the lines between that which is real and imagined. For the artist, light plays a crucial role in highlighting the ineffable bond between child and animal, and she almost always chooses natural light, whether it come in the form of sunshine or a candle flame.
The golden haze that surrounds the boys and their furry friends imbues the tenderly observed scenes with a sense of yearning, recalling frissons of homesickness felt not necessarily for a place but for a time when the world seemed simple. It is as if children and animals share an essential gentleness of spirit that is forgotten as we age, and try as we might, we can never quite penetrate this elusive childhood landscape.
All images © Elena Shumilova
via Bored Panda