Spitsbergen is located even further north than Nova Zembla, Alaska and most of Greenland. Its climate is extreme and its scenery breathtaking. The unusual town of Barentsburg is located in this desolate place, surrounded by massive glaciers.
During the Cold War this Russian mining town (at one time owned by the Dutch) was of great strategic importance to the Russians. However, the Moscow regime lost interest after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
Today, the gloomy, run-down town remains home to some 400 Russians and Ukrainians. Russian state-owned coal mining company Arktikugol continues to mine coal here for Russian consumption. Life in this place is tough, and the winters are extremely long, cold and dark.
I discovered these beautiful doors on the edge of Barentsburg. As I was photographing them, these four Russians passed by – they had just returned from doing a job out of town. We weren't able to communicate, but a picture was no problem.