Shrapnel Wound: Eight Years of War in Dmytro Kupriyan’s Photos
A Ukrainian documentary photographer, he used to work for UNIAN and other Ukrainian mass media. Now his focus lies on personal projects. His works were exhibited in Ukraine, Georgia, Italy, and Hungary.
— I went to the recruiting station at 7 AM on the 24th of February. Now I’m with the army, and it’s my primary occupation. However, I keep working on one of my longest-running projects — Fragments of War.
I’ve accumulated lots of photos over the time Ukraine has been at war. However, they lacked a unifying trait until I remembered the shell fragments I had brought from the frontline. I’ve been collecting them since 2014. I found munition fragments in Pisky, Stanytsia Luhanska, Debaltseve, Shchastia, and other places in Donbas that made the news. Those fragments reminded me of asteroids with sharp edges that could kill everything in their path.
Every fragment — I have eleven of those — has a story connected to the circumstances under which I found it. Sadly, we will never know for sure what side they came from. I always add that it’s likely to be this or that kind of munitions because sometimes it’s hard to tell if it actually is.
They all comprise a continuous story about the war and the destinies of soldiers, volunteers, and civilians. I feel that many people have become just like these fragments because of the Russian aggression, torn from their regular lives and ending up on the battlefield.
Many people have become just like those fragments because of the Russian aggression, torn from their regular lives and ending up on the battlefield.
The 2017 trip to Sloviansk was the most memorable for me. People had already returned to their usual lives there, but it felt weird that locals didn’t speak a word about the war. After all, the city was in occupation mere three years ago. Everybody pretended that nothing was going on and never had.