Ten Days in Lviv: Memories of a Parisian Photographer

Photographer Sofiya Loriashvili has been living in France since childhood but returns to Ukraine every year. The war did not prevent her from visiting friends in Lviv last summer. She dedicated a series of photographs to this visit, which she shared with Bird in Flight.
Sofiya Loriashvili 23 роки

Photographer. Born in Kyiv, she moved to France in her childhood. She studies photography at the Gobelins School in Paris.

— The first camera appeared in my life during my teenage years. That’s when I learned to shoot on my own, it was a way to occupy myself. Now I am studying at a specialized school. Although from a technical point of view, it’s much better, I understand that the school limits me.

I’m used to returning to Ukraine every summer. Last year, my friend Malek invited me to Lviv. He is an artist from Kharkiv who moved to the western part of the country after the invasion began. His family moved abroad, and he was in Lviv with his girlfriend Varvara.

This series was created in August 2022. I traveled from Paris to Lviv by minibus because it was the easiest option. The journey took a little over a day.

I settled down with Malek and Varya in a place called ReZavod. It used to be a medical materials factory, but now it’s a large concrete box with cheap studios and rooms for rent. Two buildings, one gray and one red, are connected by a large courtyard where there is a club and a bar.

The three of us lived in a tiny room. Every day was different, but two things united them: we would always wake up around ten in the morning, and we would have potatoes for dinner. Luckily, I was there in the summer because the buildings aren’t heated in winter, and we had to go to another building for a shower.

Every day was different, but two things connected them: we would always wake up around ten in the morning, and we would have potatoes for dinner.

I brought French cheese for Malek, but it turned out that there was no refrigerator in the room. Eventually, we made our own using a basin and a hammer to keep the cheese in cold water.

At the beginning of the war, ReZavod functioned as a volunteer center. When I lived there, it was no longer active, but some objects reminded me of that time. Like the cardboard food trays and the basement full of clothes.

During my ten days there, many people came and went. Our neighbor was an artist with the pseudonym ArtBobchik, who made sculptures and caps. Another guy, Dima, told us he used to be a dancer but fell ill and couldn’t continue. Now he works on construction sites all day long, but still doesn’t have enough money for medication.

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