“We Named the Puppy Hope”: Life in the Liberated Kyiv and Chernihiv Regions
A photographer. A Burn My Eye collective member, works with the documentary photography. Her works were exhibited in US, Europe and Ukraine. She now lives and works in Kyiv.
— Everyone in these pictures survived the occupation in their communities: they did not have time to go or did not believe that their village could be of interest to the russians. I usually meet these people by chance on the street – now the lines have been blurred in communication and anyone can talk to anyone. Most of the photos were taken during our conversations. Sometimes it seems to me that it were the characters who chose me, not vice versa. All of them and their stories are different, but each one wanted to give me something as a souvenir: sunflower seeds, flowers from the garden, fruit – whatever they have. And I, in turn, ask how I can help them.
With the beginning of the war, my photographing style did not change, because I always tried to use different approaches and tools in working on series. But I definitely realized what responsibility a photographer bears from an ethical point of view, and how important it is to realize that you will be associated with your work.
It seems to me that photography is one of the few forms of art that can exist without a viewer. That is, I am not looking for any special objects to impress the observer. It is enough for me that this person and his or her story became important to me – the very fact of our meeting.
Photography is one of the few forms of art that can exist without an audience.
The whole world can virtually online witness this war, the russian genocide in Ukraine. Everything is documented, as everyone has a camera in his pocket, but a photographer can intensify this documentation on several levels. Philosopher Theodor Adorno once raised an important question: Is art possible after Auschwitz? Time put everything in its place. I think everyone should do what he or she can.
Almost any work now will have a military context. Recently, I photographed young people at a charity concert and took one of the girl’s portraits near a window covered in wrap. It took me several minutes to realize that this window was broken during a missile attack on Kyiv. We have changed a lot, the war has so permeated our lives at all levels that we ourselves have already become its scars.