LIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION
The story of Mariupol
This is a heartbreaking story about an inhuman war that happened in a modern world and still continues while I’m writing this text. I didn’t choose to take part in it, but I have to go through this like millions of my compatriots and help those who need it...
This project contains 86 photographs dedicated to 86 days of heroic defense of my hometown Mariupol from russian invaders. The city was founded in 1778 and used to be a home for more than 430.000 people in 2021 and has been completely destroyed by russian terrorists in spring of 2022. I decided to create three collections of photographs that symbolize three episodes in a circle of Mariupol's life.
"The Life" collection already exists and refers to the past.
"The Death" collection symbolizes the present state of the city. This collection will contain the reshots of photographs from the first collection showing how the war changed everything.
"The Resurrection" collection is the future that we will see after legitimate Ukrainian government rebuilds the city.
“If you’re going through hell - keep going”
My home town. I was born on the seaside of Azov and spent 27 years of my life here. In 2005 I started taking photos which lead to becoming a professional photographer after I visited Cape Town in South Africa and took part in photography boot camp. I’ve received a certificate of excellence in commercial photography & came back to Mariupol to resign from my position as head of IT department in construction building enterprise and pursue a career of freelance photographer.
This city gave me foundation for my photography career. I learned to work with the light on the beach, learned to use the geometrical shapes in the streets, learned to work with emotions while shooting portraits of local people and also learned to catch the moments while shooting parties and sport events.
The collection “Life” symbolizes the bright part of my life when the city and the community were in full swing and constantly evolving. I love every picture and I remember every day when I took it. These are priceless moments that now became history.
I don’t know which of these places still exist and how they look like today. This leads us to the second part which is a mystery for me at the moment...
On the 9th of May, 2014 the pro-russian separatists attacked the police department on Artyoma street a few kilometers from my home & the center of the city became a battlefield between armed criminals and the Ukrainian army. After a year the separatists were crushed and the city became peaceful again. It was renovated and full of life until the winter of 2022.
On the 24th of February, the president of russia started a war and invaded Ukraine. My city held a heroic defense for three months with 95% of the buildings destroyed by russian artillery, rockets, battleships and 5000 kg avia bombs. My parent’s apartment - where I was born and grew up - was burnt down, so basically I’m a homeless person now. My godmother, Lara, was killed by a russian missile in a yard cooking food on a bonfire during the siege and my mother lived in a basement for 70 days. It is unknown how many people have died, but no less than 20.000 civilians is what we know at the moment.
This is a worldwide tragedy and a outrageous crime against humanity that will be investigated for decades. The whole world took part in evacuation of the besieged Ukrainian soldiers and civilians from the Azovstal factory which is located in just a couple of kilometers from my house. At this point, we don’t know if they are all alive while being captured and taken to filtration camps by russian terrorists.
This is the hardest part of the story and it is not written yet. I am preparing myself emotionally to witness the colossal devastation that happened in a place that I used to call home. I will start working on it as soon as Ukraine defeats the russian army and takes the city back under legitimate control. As soon as it happens, I’ll travel there and will reshoot the images from the “Life” collection to show how the war changed everything. When my brothers buried my godmother in the yard in front of our house, I will take a photograph of her grave as a counterweight to her portrait from the “Life” collection. This is a matter of time and resources and I am sure that I will make this happen.
You can read more about what happened in Mariupol in the trusted resources of information below and on Wikipedia. Please keep in mind that the russian government is trying hard to distort the truth in a struggle to hide their endless crimes, so make sure to check any sensitive information given with at least three other international sources. This story is still in the making and no one knows what will happen next. Some of my close people are still trapped in the ruins of Mariupol and we have no chance to evacuate them at the moment....
I don’t know how much time it will take before we rebuild the city and when I’ll be able to take the 3rd version of every image.
It may take years or decades before Mariupol gets back to normal life. Generous Italian theatrals promised to restore the Drama Theatre, Greek diaspora also stated that they will do their part and many many more concerned people. I want to use this NFT project as a platform to talk loud about this tragedy and to do my part to help. Please take a look at the Project Goals section below for details.
I firmly believe in this plan and I will complete this part no matter how long it takes.