Winter is not only a season, it can also be a state of mind. Lesya Pchelka (1989, Belarus) in her series Winter Flowers visualised this very state of mind. She explains that, during the winter, she spends a lot of time indoors, looking out the window, and recreated this particular sensation with a series of portraits of girls, who are the ‘winter flowers’ the title refers to, trapped inside the house, trying to catch a brief glimpse of light. The choice to ‘deprive’ the photographs of colour, as the artist has described it, is a way to express a feeling of hopelessness.The pale skin of the portrayed girls is for Pchelka the symbol of winter, which is just a condition that one has to accept. The home environment is a protection, a place where the flowers can survive, but it can slowly begin to feel like a prison.
Pchelka’s work makes us re-think winter on its natural terms, just as some animals enter hibernation and some plants lose their leaves. Life in cities can feel less affected by these cycles, but the lack of light and freezing temperatures do take their toll, even if modern life provides us with the means to carry on as if they do not.