These Unmarried Sisters Created Their Own Version Of Happily Ever After

Photo: Courtesy of Nadia Sablin.
During the summer months in Alekhovshchina, a small village in Russia, the sun doesn't set until after midnight. That's just one of the reasons the photos in Nadia Sablin's Aunties series (now a book) are so damn magical. The other? The incredible pair of elderly sisters that the Brooklyn-based photographer documented over the course of seven years. The seventysomething women are her aunts, Ludmila and Alevtina, and they still spend their summers in the tiny family cabin Sablin used to visit when she was a young child.

"If you climb Bald Mountain (a somewhat aspirational name for the tallest hill in Alekhovshchina), you can see the entire village and a fair part of the road that leads on to Tikhvin Monastery," Sablin told us over email. "Most people who travel to the area blow right through the town — there is still no hotel or café to welcome visitors. It’s a paradise for children, but there aren’t many women my age. The ones I’ve met have found some way to survive by starting their own small business or relying on a spouse working in a bigger city. Some cope by gardening and foraging in the forest in addition to their job, some drink, some play volleyball on the high school’s court."

So, how do Sablin's aunties fill their days? They've got a routine that keeps them pretty busy. Follow along as they pick berries, chop logs, and complete crossword puzzles in the gallery, ahead.