For young photographers, it is becoming a popular genre: the visual diary, a keenly edited photo book representative of the photographer's train of thought. Ekaterina Anokhina's 25 Weeks of Winter is a pocket-sized soft cover book that not only looks but also feels like it might really be someone's diary. This visual story is a tribute to the heartbroken and lovesick by means of a deeply personal account of a dwindling relationship, one that can be universally understood.
The images vary widely in aesthetics, fluctuating between grainy black and white shots and sharp vividly coloured images. Not only the style of the images, but also the subjects photographed serve as symbols of her state of mind. Anokhina uses both snapshots made during her relationship, as well as images of landscapes, food and flowers as a way of representing the way she feels. In the absence of any explanatory text, the reader delves into her waning relationship by letting the images speak for themselves.
A shot of snow-covered tree branches is placed opposite an image of a man. With his naked back turned to the camera, he is sitting on a bed with his hands covering his face. It looks like he might be crying. As we turn the page, we come across an image of white flowers. On the opposite page the same man has his back turned to the camera once again. This time he is sitting by the water, looking into the distance. Without text or extensive explanation, it is up to the viewer to understand the connection between the images, inevitably grasping the heartbreak Anokhina wishes to convey.
To test the theory that this was a story that could be universally understood, Anokhina sent the dummy of her photo book to psychoanalyst Inga Metreveli. Based on that, Metreveli produced a case study, the case of patient E., which is included with the book as a separate text, unbound. Metreveli's diagnosis: “traumatic experience of the lack of sexual relation between subjects". The cure: “sublimation through art, eradication of the trauma through the symbolic and the imaginary".
Anokhina's 25 Weeks of Winter is an attempt to use her own experience as the backdrop to a more universal interpretation of the story of a broken heart. Published in a limited edition of 250 copies, the book is not just deeply personal, it is also something we have all experienced, or may experience, at one point in our lives.