The Makeshift Tents of Kazakhstani Ice Fishermen

Wednesday February 20, 2019 Written by Toby

Mum always told you not to stick your head in plastic bags. But Mum, I’m assuming, has never had to brave the icy temperatures of the frozen Ishim River in Astana, Kazakhstan, to catch fish. And even if she has, she’d probably say something like, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

As Detroit photographer Aleksey Kondratyev found, Astana’s ice fishermen have little choice but to disregard Mum’s advice and place not just their heads but their entire bodies into plastic bags to protect themselves from the -40°C temperatures they endure to snag the odd perch, rudd or bream.

Kondratyev spent a month in Astana, the second coldest capital in the world, photographing these makeshift tents, which are often cobbled together from trash or recycled rice bags. Set against the white snow and white sky, these cocoons appear like strange, almost ghostly apparitions.

You can order a newly released book of these photographs from Independent London publisher Loose Joints, but, unfortunately, we cannot confirm whether the book comes shrink-wrapped in plastic.