Here are two pages from my notebook, from 1992. I was working in the former Soviet Union. This resulted in my 1994 book A hundred summers, a hundred winters and later in 2011, Let’s sit down before we go.

The first page is from when I was in Sochi, where the Olympics are taking place at the moment. I was in the old sanatoria and I was staying with a woman, Nina, who talked very discriminatory about the refugees coming in from the Kaukasian countries. These wars were starting then.

The second page is about my staying with a photographer and his parents in a datcha, in a little village in Siberia. We slept all together in a small room, we went for mushrooms for our meal, we had to do our business in the bushes and after 4 days without washing, we made the sauna work. I loved all of it.

Bertien van Manen projects include; A HUNDRED SUMMERS, A HUNDRED WINTERS, photographs taken in the ex-Soviet Union; EAST WIND WEST WIND, made in China; and GIVE ME YOUR IMAGE, which was photographed in Europe and shown as part of NEW PHOTOGRAPHY, MoMA, 2005. In October 2011 her book, LET’S SIT DOWN BEFORE WE GO, was published by MACK London. The following year EASTER ON OAK TREES, was published, also by MACK London, and shows intimate, black and white images of van Manen’s family in the Seventies. These projects resulted in photo-albums and exhibitions over the world. In April, 2014 van Manen’s latest book, MOONSHINE, will be released by MACK, photographs taken over the years in the Appalachian Mountains. Van Manen lives in Amsterdam and is currently working in Ireland.