For years, I've been traveling to unrecognized countries that don’t exist on world maps. I went to film in the South Caucasus region on the eastern coast of the Black Sea that was destroyed by civil war after the collapse of the Soviet Union. One night, I woke up suffering from terrible pain and was carried to a hospital by an unknown man. A few days after an urgent operation, he came to check on me. After abdominal bleeding, I needed a place to recover — he offered me a place to stay at his house until I could walk again. I took this leap of faith, trusting a stranger.

He calls himself Wolf — the nickname he was given by his war buddies, the symbol of a warrior in the mythology of Caucasus. Wolf’s grandfather was born in a big peasant family in Turkey. In search of a better life, he crossed the Black Sea and settled down here, in the prosperous subtropical oasis with a tourism-based economy. Wolf’s childhood and youth — spent growing up in a large farming family — was a happy one. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the civil war broke out here, he was 22. In the last days of the war, he survived a land-mine blast that left him scarred and deaf.

The subtropical oasis became an internationally unrecognized zone — physically and diplomatically shut out from other countries. This situation embittered people and Wolf retreated to the mountains to live a life of self-imposed exile. Twenty years later, he brought me to his mountain.

I lived on Wolf's mountain for few months, this isolation became our common normalcy. When I started to walk again, he taught me his farm routine. Sometimes I was coming down from the mountain just to find places and people from his stories of the past that, to my surprise, were real. Next years, they became protagonists for many of my photo exhibitions that I had worldwide.

Since then I’ve been visiting Wolf’s mountain for two years. This single backstage story of Wolf has become a symbol of the trauma of the whole post-war country and all the people who create their special world in isolation.

Wolf’s interactions with this land and with other people were happening through his stories and memories. I took photographs from his mountain (2014-2016) to put this true narrative into a documentary fairy tale. 
My friend and illustrator, Alberto Madrigal, drew the former soldier’s memories into some of my images, animating documentary photographs with Wolf’s tales.

I withhold his full name and his location private, as Wolf wishes.

To see and know more contact Olga.

Photographs: Olga Ingurazova.

Illustrations: Alberto Madrigal.

Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Scars of Independence. Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
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