Solovki is the main island of the Solovetsky archipelago (Russia), located in the middle of the White Sea, known as such because it is frozen over for nearly half the year. Solovki was the mother Gulag, the terrible Soviet penitentiary system of forced labour camps. Active from 1924 to 1939, it served as a model for all the subsequent prisons.
Places have memory, and while one could only hope to bury this tragic past, the memory is imprinted in the lives of its inhabitants; it is impossible to escape it. The fact that Solovki is an island in the middle of the White Sea accentuates the memory of the prison in the collective sub-conscience.
Juan Manuel Castro Prieto and Rafael Trapiello have explored this territory observing the relationship between inferno and paradise. Using a narrative strategy alike to poetry, all the images have an unsettling tension that exists between the beauty and spirituality of the place and the terrible past that occurred on these islands.
The photographs in this book were taken during two trips - the first in August 2015 and the Second in April 2016. All the inhabitants of Solovki shown in the photos opened their doors to the photographers which made this book possible.