02/25/2012 09:09 am ET Updated Apr 26, 2012

Riding Trans-Siberian Rails Into The Great White (PHOTOS)

A couple of years back, before I started photographing professionally, I took a night train out of Moscow and headed for the heart of Siberia in the middle of winter. Driven mostly by a desire to see and feel the frozen wilderness, I had the notion that I would photograph faces and places along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

I didn't sleep that first night after I climbed on board. Instead, I sat hunched by the window watching Moscow dissolve into empty white. There were very few people on the train at that time of year and it was only once every few hours that someone would stumble down the carriage swaddled in winter clothes and smelling of vodka. A few days east of Moscow, a young girl called Susanna got on. She had come up from Kazakhstan and was on her way to an arranged marriage somewhere in the far east. She told me if she had it her way she'd move to Spain and start a new life there.

For the next couple of days I was sat opposite an old babushka called Valya. She spoke no English and clearly wasn't impressed with my smattering of Russian. Still, she plied me constantly with tea, chocolates and Jesus and we spent two days together in silence watching the frozen world outside. I got off the train a number of times before we reached Tomsk, where the temperature dropped so low that the entire town was shut down and we were grounded in the station.

A few days later I was in Irkutsk, where I befriended a mafia driver and spent time collecting bosses' wives from hair salons. I passed Lake Baikal, 25 million years old and completely frozen over, endless stretches of Taiga forest and then headed south into Mongolia. This is a selection of images taken at various places along the railway between Moscow and the Mongolian capital.

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