Photo project

All Roads Lead Home: War Travel Experiences in the Lens of Iva Sidash

For over a year now, Iva Sidash has been traveling through the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, capturing life during the war. She spends a lot of time on the road, and it is precisely the road that allows her to comprehend this experience.
Iva Sidash

Photographer. Finalist of the international Fujifilm Moment Street Photo Awards 2021, graduate of the Visual Storytelling course by ICP in 2022. Works have been showcased in collective exhibitions in Ukraine, the USA, European countries, and Asia. Photographs have been published in Financial Times, Der Spiegel, Fisheye Magazine, Bird in Flight, and more.

— I often ask myself what lies behind those traces and scars that multiply over time and approach the front line. What is the story behind each destroyed car, each broken tree, or pierced billboards and road signs? The longer you travel, the more questions arise and the fewer answers you find.

When the full-scale invasion began, I immediately realized that I didn’t want to and couldn’t stand aside. The camera became my salvation and the opportunity to know what was happening. At the end of April 2022, I went to the heavily devastated and empty city of Kharkiv and there I understood that the East is the place where I should be and where I have something to do.

War is not only about death but also about life and the struggle of every individual in the conditions of wartime reality. It’s about children protected by their parents, or parents protected by their adult children. It’s about the relationships between people and the desire to survive.

I have traveled almost all of Kharkiv region, parts of Donetsk and Kherson regions, visited cities like Dnipro, Odessa, Kryvyi Rih, and other towns and villages directly or indirectly affected by Russian aggression in Ukraine. During these journeys, I immerse myself in a world of pain and injustice experienced by each person. These stories touch me deeply, and I live through them while on the road, alone with my thoughts. The road has become a place for me to reflect on the moments experienced since February 24th.

The stories of those people touch me deeply, and I live through them precisely on the road, alone with my thoughts.

As I continued to move forward, avoiding the craters from explosions on the asphalt, car parts, and fallen trees. In almost all of my trips to the East, I am a passenger, which allows me to immerse myself fully in the space that I pass through and experience.

All the photographs were taken on 30-year-old film, damaged, unpredictable, and diverse. I developed and scanned the images myself, which allowed me to connect with my emotions, delve into them, and understand.

Some films I bought on OLX, some at the flea market in Kharkiv. I call them damaged because they have long expired. They are older than me. Working with such film is always risky; you never know how it will behave during shooting or development. The first film in the series came out completely dark – not a single frame. During such a shoot, I had a strange feeling of uncertainty – the same feeling I have when traveling on war-damaged roads.

These films are older than me. Working with them is always risky.

It is a Ukrainian online marketplace where individuals can buy and sell various goods and services.

The road is a witness to what has happened and is happening in our country. It speaks to me through its landscapes, its ruins. This road pains me, but despite the pain, the road, in my understanding, is always a path that will lead somewhere: to oneself, to the truth, to the reality in which we live.

Moreover, during times of great war, the road is especially crucial as it connects, protects, and leads forward. Therefore, my project is called “Further along the road.” It is important for me to feel life even when there is so little of it. It is important to keep going because I know where I want to arrive: in a free Ukraine without a constant sense of danger.

During times of great war, the road is especially significant as it connects, protects, and leads forward.

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