Izyum, Hrushivka, Mariupol, Shevchenkove, Tsirkuny, Maksimivka, Nova Hnylytsia, Kozacha Lopan and other cities and villages. Some of them are still under occupation. Although some people managed to escape, others were forced to live under occupation for about six months before being liberated by the armed forces of Ukraine in September 2022.
Communicating with people who survived the occupation is difficult, you don't know how to start, what words to choose and what to ask, you're afraid to hurt them and inflict repeated pain. But when I looked into their eyes, I understood how open and full of this past they are, they have something to say, they want to be heard. The experience of the occupation is like another reality, which you want to forget and which you are afraid to experience again, but which is in you, because this time cannot be erased by time.
I was not under occupation and did not experience this horror, so it is difficult for me to even imagine what and how these people went through. How did they live and how were they able to withstand these conditions? Why did some leave and others did not? Why did someone now want to? Exploring all these "whys" became the main goal of my communication with the characters of my photographs. It was important for me to spend some time with them, to talk, to immerse myself in their space, to feel their pain. The memoirs, which I asked them to write by hand, are an attempt to give people the opportunity to express their pain, perhaps once again, to experience it in this moment, in order to let it go, even for a little while.
The project was completed thanks to financial support of Ukrainian Warchive.