At Europe’s eastern border, in a 2500 km. Russian mountain rage, amidst a mixture of native tribes and working-class neighborhoods, it is only a step away from Asia. It takes only a deep breath to feel the weight of the region’s atmosphere and an enigmatic look to find oneself back at the years of heroic soviet struggles against Hitler’s armies but also at Cold War spy games and at Gulag cries of pain and desperation. From the frozen Arctic Ocean down to the Caspian Sea, the Urals remain a point of reference for Russian heavy industry. It has huge iron ore and gold deposits, but at the same time it is also a symbol of over-exploitation. In some areas, one can find some of the world’s highest concentration of radioactive pollution. In October 2007 I accompanied my friend and colleague Pavlos Fysakis in his ‘Land Ends’ Project which deals with the four corners of Europe. For this evolved into one of my first photographic wanderings, amidst polar temperatures, abandoned mines, questions of old prisoners and constant swears by workers facing the wages of misery.