Chasing the Light – Images from the Longest Day

· 5.July.2021

W. Scott Olsen (USA):

Borders mean nothing to sunlight.

And yet, borders provide definition. Borders create a need for naming what’s on one side and what’s on the other.  And the names give rise to reputations and myths.

My friend Valeriy Klamm and I live on opposite sides of the planet. Sometimes, in terms of culture and politics, it seems like we live on opposite sides of the universe.  But we share a relationship with the ideas of place and home.  The word “Siberia” evokes images of the very remote, the isolated, the sparse.  Likewise, the name “North Dakota” can evoke images of endless open prairie, brutal storms, little shelter.


1. 3:10 a.m. Just after moonset, and just before the beginning of dawn light, the Milky Way is visible over Fargo/Moorhead’s southern sky (W. Scott Olsen)

04:31 Novosibirsk, before the sunrise, wake-up ringtone (Valeriy Klamm)

Neither reputation is true in 2021.  Siberia can be as vibrant and cosmopolitan as anywhere on the planet, and North Dakota hosts world-class technology, agriculture, arts and food.

If the reputations of our home ground are cold and barren, what better opportunity to go exploring than the day of the summer solstice, the day with the most sunlit hours? What better opportunity to celebrate warmth and community?

2. At 5:41 a.m., WDAY News Anchor Cailley Chella greets morning viewers (W. Scott Olsen)

05:08 The scene inside the quarter built for the local events and political issues (Valeriy Klamm)

3. 6:33 a.m. At the Shack on Broadway, the servers greet regular morning customers by name and serve their famous breakfast (W. Scott Olsen)

05:14 The scene (Valeriy Klamm)

Valery and I have worked together before.  So why not, we said.  What would we discover if our goal was simply to go exploring on the longest day to see what our towns and our lives would reveal?  What would our two collections look like when placed next to each other?  Would we see differences or similarities?  Both?

05:18 Hand-made birdhouse in my area (Valeriy Klamm)

4. 7:15 a.m. Even early in the morning, the operators at the Red River Regional Dispatch Center answer 9-1-1 calls (W. Scott Olsen)

05:30 About to drive outside the city to pick-up my parents from their summer house (in Russian – datcha), situated near Komarovka (can be translated as Mosquito Village) ( Valeriy Klamm)

7:50 a.m. The first car of the day at Don’s Car Wash (W. Scott Olsen)

We did not tell each other what we were going to shoot.  And, as it turns out, we each took a different path.  With an X100V generously loaned by Fujifilm, I wandered around town.  Valery explored family.

6. 8:59 a.m. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Prasad Sawardeker performs a complete shoulder replacement at Essentia Health (W. Scott Olsen)

05:50 On the way to Komarovka (Valeriy Klamm)

7. 9:37 a.m. Jordan Plotz and Dave Wang keep watch over the Moorhead Water Plant (W. Scott Olsen)

06:00 My son Artyom, 25y.o., decided to share my Longest Day for fujilove.com, and to be my driver. (Valeriy Klamm)

The difference is actually a merit—together we found a more complete picture of a day that has been marked since the time of the ancient Greeks.  Together, we found a photographic celebration.

Artyom bought yesterday used Fujifilm X-T20 camera (Valeriy Klamm)

10:30 a.m. Hikma Yassin waits for a friend with morning coffee in downtown Fargo (W. Scott Olsen).

06:12 Country road between hills and lakes (Valeriy Klamm)

11:07 a.m. One of the seemingly endless parades of trains rolls through town (W. Scott Olsen)

Valeriy Klamm (Russia):

Almost three years have passed since our first duet project: time floats and the idea of the River seems to be the key word for capturing the space.

After watching the Oscar-winning movie Nomadland, I read from a Russian film critic that the movie has no narrative.  It’s like a “river-movie.” You sit nearby at the bank and feel the core of time, or even of eternity.

06:20 Off-road (Valeriy Klamm)

11:29 a.m. Christine Holland of Riverkeepers enjoys a brief kayak trip on the Red River downtown (W. Scott Olsen)

06:33 Arrived to Komarovka, my mom Anastassiya and my step-father Gennadiy, both 84 y.o., spend here most of the summer (Valeriy Klamm)

11:40 a.m. Quite often, the palette of the summer sky is reason enough to pause (W. Scott Olsen)

For me, the most important projects include time as one of the actors: you build relationships with it and your characters. You float with time and its prints develop everywhere – faces, surrounding shapes, the light.

Even short moments within the longest day can be approached as a “time with the river”, the river of the common. The daily life of a photographer, his circle, working hours and time for friends, downtown and suburbia, from sunrise to twilight.

06:36 At the bottom of cedar that was planted by mom 30 years ago (Valeriy Klamm)

11:47 a.m. An exercise class, and just some exercise, in Broadway Square just before the noon hour (W. Scott Olsen)

06:39 They finally decided to get married just 5 years ago, after decades of being together (Valeriy Klamm)

11:57 a.m. Eating outdoors on a warm summer day is a particular joy (W. Scott Olsen)

With a Fujifilm X-T4, and my son Artyom who had just-bought a Fujifilm X-T20 (who decided to join me for backstage purposes), we floated the river of the longest day.

06:40 Wooden home is cozy (Valeriy Klamm)

12:08 p.m. A pleasant discovery while wandering downtown (W. Scott Olsen)

Early morning, we picked up my 84 year old parents from their summer house (datcha) in Novosibirsk suburbia. Then I captured for my main client, CDEK, an international logistics company that was founded here and has very special corporate culture, the CEO’s birthday.

06:44 This home and this light through the small windows was designed by myself, it was my first effected project after graduating as an architect in 1983 (Valeriy Klamm)

12:13 p.m. With mask, boots and guitar, Emma Beautrez is ready to head out (W. Scott Olsen)

Next: my old friend Gabriela, a UK citizen who married a Siberian and six months ago became a mom here. After that Guzel, my son’s girlfriend, a young interior designer, joined us for a walk to the shore of Ob’ (the name of our big river).

At the embankment nearby the old bridge we found a tired yellow submarine, and we decided we were tired, too.  Our longest day was over.



06:46 Grandpa and grandson (Valeriy Klamm)

12:28 p.m. The rooftop heart on Broadway (W. Scott Olsen)


The rest of Scott’s day:


The rest of Valeriy’s day:


Valeriy Klamm with his son Artyom


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