For a recent issue featuring a stories about the lives of ordinary people, Russian Esquire decided to forgo the usual model and celebrity cover stars and focus on someone quite different — 67-year-old retired farmer Vasily Ilyin.
Ilyin lives in a village called Ryshkova in the Kursk region of Russia. Although he’s now retired, he had never left the area. So, when Esquire decided to shoot a portrait of Ilyin, they decided to give him the trip of the lifetime and fly him to New York City.
You can watch Ilyin’s trip (which includes a sojourn in Moscow) in the heartwarming 20-minute short film featured below. Though largely in Russian, it features English subtitles:
It’s fascinating to watch the entire video, with highlights including Ilyin’s trips to see the Charging Bull of Wall Street, his numerous ruminations on Russia’s leaders and its place in the world, and his fascination during a trip to a New Jersey dairy farm.
Ilyin’s cover photo was shot at Manhattan’s Milk Studios. Here’s how it turned out:
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