“”I have two homes. My first home is the forest and my second the library.“ He invited me to his small property in the forest, where he sleeps at minus 50 degrees outside. I have never seen anyone appreciating the beauty of nature like him. The forest seems to bring him into a different state of mind. He sees his task in protecting the vast Taiga from people burning it, or Chinese companies clearing it. For this he patrols the forest everyday and studies in the library laws and ecological questions about how to protect the forests.”

This photograph, from 2018, was part of the project, Hiding from Baba Yaga – a reference to a figure from Slavic folklore, a supernatural being who appeared to those who encountered her as an elderly woman. According to various tales, she was depicted as everything from a child-eating ghoul to a kind companion who helped people roaming the land where Heitmann’s project was photographed.

Nanna Heitmann is a documentary photographer, based between Russia and Germany. She joined Magnum as a nominee in 2019.

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