Oymyakon, Russia: the coldest place on Earth


Amos Chapple traveled to Oymyakon, Russia, whose average temperature in January is below -50 C

Think you’ve had a tough winter so far?

Don’t tell that to the people of Oymyakon, Russia — the coldest permanently inhabited settlement on Earth. Though it’s situated just one degree north of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, average January temperatures in Oymyakon are nearly 20 degrees colder — below -50 degrees Celsius.

It’s that extreme cold that motivated New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple to travel to Oymyakon last winter. Unsurprisingly, people in the village were not in a particularly happy mood.

“The village, to be honest, was kind of depressed,” he said. “There was a lot of drunkenness, and people were not as welcoming as I would have thought.”

Photographing the village was a “nightmare,” according to Chapple, who had difficulties finding willing subjects — people would scurry to and from buildings, usually with their face in their hands to stay warm. He instead worked to find subjects by following around local animals.

“It’s very desolate, and very very isolated, said Chapple. “The trip there really made that clear. It’s absolutely deserted tundra all around.

“A bit more intense than I’d imagined.”

Intensity aside, Chapple returned home to New Zealand with some amazing shots. Grab a mug of hot cocoa, and take a look through our gallery. You might even be able to feel the chill through your screen.

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