Ukraine’s existence is at stake. Russia’s war has changed the lives for Ukrainians forever. My on the ground photography is aimed to provide window into these souls, providing an insight to what many do not see.
Bucha Aftermath – BUCHA, KYIV REGIONRussian soldiers had occupied the settlement of Bucha in the early days of the war. Many civilians had been killed or had priorly evacuated. But for those who remained in this residential area, their houses were occupied, leaving a basement and a small outdoor communal area to gather. The locals would cook soup, tea, and chat quietly, and they still use it today. My feeling was that the area connected them to one another to help overcome the trauma they had recently faced.
Life Underground - KHARKIVThis 19-year-old woman from Kharkiv in north-eastern Ukraine gave birth a day after the war began in February. She told me how she remembers going to the hospital while in labour, and all she could hear was the sounds of war around here. Her son has yet to live above ground since he was born, as they both have been living in a make-shift train carriage in one of the city’s underground metro stations.
The Remnants of Russia’s destruction– KYIV Kyiv was the first place I visited in Ukraine, as it showed the remnants of Russia’s first attack. The destruction of buildings, the soldiers on the street, the closed stores and anxious atmosphere. This mall was pulverised by rockets by Russia during the early days in Kyiv, but for me when I visited was the first time I could get a sense of destruction, up close. The complex still lays destroyed and derelict, and all I remember is seeing debris everywhere. It was a first warning that war was back in Europe, and this is what it looked like in 2022.
Victims of War – LVIV Western Ukraine has often been dubbed the safer part of Ukraine, but it doesn’t mean the effects of war are void. In Lviv, this man was a chef living in eastern Ukraine. But unexpectedly, his home came under fire, that led to his legs being severely damaged. Today, his legs have both been amputated, as he lays in a hospital recovering from the attack. It’s a tough atmosphere to be in, the mood is so flat and deflated. Nothing seems to be positive. It’s the real effects of war, the aftermath.
Death in Makariv - MAKARIVThe urban settlement Makariv is in the Kyiv Oblast Region. A family of three were in their garden when Russian forces came in and began shelling the area. The mother and son were killed, but the father survived. The man buried his family in his garden before signing up to the military as a volunteer. Here, local authorities dig up the two bodies and take them to a local morgue. It’s important to look at all of the faces on these men. Because up close, death affects us all.
The Frontline – MYKOLAIVThis soldier scours through a school which has been badly damaged from shelling. In Mykolaiv, southeast Ukraine, the fighting moves back and forth, but in modern warfare, the frontline isn’t one specified area, it’s “everywhere” according to one soldier I had spoken to. Soon after this photo, we had to take cover in the basement as shelling intensified close by, before leaving the area.
Waiting To Fight - POKROVSKOnce someone sees a camera, many people who become shy, annoyed or simply don’t want to have their photos taken. But this Ukrainian soldier didn’t mind, and stared in this position for minutes, pondering his next month. There was an uneasy atmosphere at the time, and the skies were bellowing with the sounds of incoming and outgoing fire. I was at a military defence line position near to the frontline in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, and the area had been regularly hit with Russian rockets at the time.
Fleeing Warzones – ZAPORIZHZHIAMariupol in Ukraine has been the media’s story of the war so far. These fleeing civilians desperately left the city, which after months of fighting, is now under Russian control. These people were queuing up with their cars, making phone calls and looking bewildered of where to go next. But the noise was smooth. There was no arguments or frantic discussions. It was simply quiet chaos.