Photos

Oymyakon, Russia: the coldest place on Earth

Think your winter's been cold? Photographer Amos Chapple traveled to Oymyakon, Russia, whose average temperature in January is below -50 degrees Celcius.

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.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.