Humans of Eastern Ukraine
A year and a half after the Euromaidan Revolution erupted, American Photographer Brian De Pinto travels to Eastern Ukraine. He captures the remains of human essence in this war-torn region.
In February 2014, 20,000 gathered in Kiev to protest the rule of the Ukrainian government steeped in corruption. Shortly after the movement gained its goals – President Yanukovich fled the country – Russian forces annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Brian took photographs during a cease-fire between the Ukrainian nationalists and the pro-Russian independentists. “Perhaps it was hubris, a fascination with the legacy of young men and war, or pure curiosity that had brought me to eastern Ukraine,” Brian tells us. He spent time with members of different independentist movements, in search for the patriotism that fueled the revolution.
Brian wanted to discover the impact of the war on the local population. In his words – “the profound ability of humans to adapt to their circumstance.” At the same time, his subjects wanted to know how the rest of the world viewed their conflict. This two-way curiosity resulted in an honest interaction that is visible in all of Brian’s shots. He was able to depict his heroic subjects as profoundly humane. “While visiting an older woman whose home and village outside had been destroyed by shelling, I was offered blackberries from a tree growing amidst the rubble of her home. It was this type of humbling generosity in the midst of such crisis that left an impact on me that exists to this day.”
Images from “Heroyam Slava” © Brian De Pinto