Photo project

State Of War: Documenting Kyiv’s Street Realities

Metal hedgehogs and concrete blocks have become part of the urban landscape — it's even strange to remember that they weren't on the streets before. The barriers will not be removed until the end of the martial law, so photographers still have time to document such signs of war. Photographer Serhii Korovayny has already started doing this. Here's what, in his opinion, rusty anti-tank hedgehogs can tell us about ourselves.
Serhii Korovayny

Photojournalist and portrait photographer. Collaborates with international publishers, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Guardian, Financial Times, and others.

— A year ago, when Kyiv was under the threat of occupation, the city resembled a fortress with fortifications, checkpoints, and anti-tank obstacles on the streets. Now its landscape resembles pre-war times. The war has shifted to the east and south, and now remnants of positions and accumulations of obstacles serve as reminders of it. They have become a new characteristic of the city to which the residents have fully adapted.

Does this mean that war has become the norm? That’s what I think about while walking around Kyiv, on the outskirts of which Russian forces were recently stationed. So I decided to document what remains from the times when the capital was threatened with occupation. I don’t photograph active checkpoints; I often capture even removed anti-tank hedgehogs from the road. I have traveled a lot around the country and I see that even in cities in the south and east, people have become accustomed to such a life. Everything I captured is already inactive, and there are hundreds of similar photos on the internet. But it was important for me to photograph Kyiv specifically because it is my city, and this is how I document my own experience of living in war.

The accumulation of Czech hedgehogs has become a new characteristic of the city, to which the residents have fully adapted.

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