The last series entitled Wind of Okhotsk by Shanghai-based photographer Ying Yin captures the city of Abashiri, Hokkaido covered in heavy snow. Inspired by memories of her hometown and desire to visit a snowy area, Yin went back earlier this year to capture the stillness of the wintery land that looks like an unfinished painting.
“In 2015 I made a trip to Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan. The trip started from Sapporo and at last got to Abashiri, the city located on the coast of the Okhotsk Sea. There is a train named “Okhotsk-no-Kaze (Wind of Okhotsk)” that runs between these two cities, which inspired the name of my project. It was wonderful for me to see such heavy snow. My sight was filled with the color white, and cities were sleeping in the snow. Snow can make usual things unusual. Snow covered many useless things, and that made many interesting details appear. Snow is like a frame: it makes everything individual. The buildings, the people walking, the car… the frozen time become a story inside this frame, a silent and lonely story. These stories belong to the city, the city is built up by these stories.”
Photographers are often drawn to people different from themselves and places starkly opposite their everyday surroundings. Photographer Ying Yin lives in Shanghai, where it doesn’t snow often. She felt curious to experience and document a way of life in a climate in which she’d never lived before.
“My hometown is a southern city in China. In my memories there were few snowy days, so I desire to visit the areas where there is heavy snow in winter,” she explained in an interview with weather.com.
Yin trekked to Japan’s coldest region, Hokkaido, the nation’s northernmost island. Hokkaido lies less than 27 miles from Russia’s Sakhalin island.
The photographer’s photos demonstrate the overwhelming white that envelops the prefecture, which she says is disorienting at times. She said that the frigid cold keeps locals from staying outside for too long, which is why the cities and villages depicted in her photographs seem to be abandoned.
Yin, who studied fashion design before segueing into work as a photo editor, has taken two trips to this frozen land. The resulting images show a keen eye for design and symmetry, as she is able to capture the beautifully surreal and sleepy nature of these cities trapped within their snowy cages. Through her work, viewers can feel the chill in the air, and sense the intense solitude of the winter in the isolated area. The dense white air acts as a background, providing a startling uniform canvas on which her subjects are laid.
Her future plans include another visit to Hokkaido next month. She’s been three times in the last four years. To check out more of Yin’s photos, visit her Behance page.