How Ukrainian photographers captured a year of conflict

Winford Hunter

The Information Front is a series of publications showcasing photographs of the war in Ukraine, taken by photographers from the country. It was founded on the belief that photography can act as a “countermeasure to false truths and propaganda”, bearing witness to the experience of ordinary civilians in conflict zones.

The first volume, published in newspaper format in June 2022, documented the first two months of the Ukraine invasion. The second, which took the form of an expanded magazine, featured photographers exploring “the quest for Ukrainian identity” in the face of war. The pictures in both volumes reveal a diverse range of perspectives, styles and disciplines. Work by early-career artists reflecting on the toll of war on their country appears alongside that of seasoned photojournalists operating in the field.

In the following pages is the work of 10 artists, made since the start of the war in 2022 and chosen by The Information Front’s founders Kateryna Radchenko, Christopher Nunn and Donald Weber.

Proceeds from sales of the publications go to the Ukrainian charity The Depths of Art, which supports Ukrainian culture, including photographers in partnership with Odesa Photo Days Festival.

Oleksandr Glyadelov

b 1956

Documentary photographer and photojournalist covering war and humanitarian crises.

Flattened trees and burnt-out residential apartment buildings in Kramatorsk, the day after a rocket attack in May 2022
Kramatorsk, the day after a rocket attack on a residential quarter, May 2022 © Oleksandr Glyadelov

A bridge over the Irpin river in Romanivka, Kyiv region. Half the bridgehas collapsed and fallen into the water, along with a parked car
The destroyed bridge over the Irpin river in Romanivka, Kyiv region, March 2022 © Oleksandr Glyadelov

The front of a burnt-out Ukrainian tank, on which people have placed a basket and bunches of flowers
Flowers adorn a destroyed Ukrainian BMP-1 tank in Makariv, Kyiv region, April 2022 © Oleksandr Glyadelov

Rubble and dust fly up in the air as the walls of a house in Zaporizhzhya collapse after being hit by a downed rocket
Walls of a house collapse after being hit by a downed rocket in Zaporizhzhya, May 2022 © Oleksandr Glyadelov

Dima Tolkachov

b 1989

Artist who, since last year’s invasion, has reflected primarily on the atrocities of war.

Searching for visual metaphors, Tolkachov’s “New Grasses” (2022) shows images of grass sprouting through shrapnel holes caused by bombs. “I asked myself, ‘Is the war lasting that long or is the grass growing this fast?’”

Bright green blades of grass sprout through a hole made by shrapnel
New Grasses, 2022 © Dima Tolkachov

Blades of grass and leaves sprout through holes made by shrapnel
© Dima Tolkachov

Bright green blades of grass sprout through holes made by shrapnel
© Dima Tolkachov

Blades of grass and leaves sprout through holes made by shrapnel
© Dima Tolkachov

Ivan Samoilov

b 2002

Student of cinema, born and based in Kharkiv.

Preivnichna Saltivka, one of the most war-torn districts of Kharkiv, August 2022
Preivnichna Saltivka, one of the most war-torn districts of Kharkiv, August 2022 © Ivan Samoilov

Iryna Rybakova

b 1984

Press officer of the 93rd Mechanised Brigade Kholodny Yar of the armed forces of Ukraine.

A Ukrainian soldier armed with a gun walks past an exploded Russian truck in Okhtyrka
A soldier of the 93rd Mechanised Brigade Kholodny Yar near an exploded Russian military truck in Okhtyrka, Sumy region, February 26 2022 © Iryna Rybakova

The turret of a blown-up Russian tank in a field in the village of Husarivka, seen from above
Aerial photograph of the turret of a blown-up Russian tank in a field in the village of Husarivka, Kharkiv region, reclaimed by the 93rd Mechanised Brigade Kholodny Yar in March 2022 © Iryna Rybakova

A soldier walks carefully through a burnt-out apartment block in Bakhmut
Burnt-out housing on Patrice Lumumba Street, Bakhmut, September 19 2022  © Iryna Rybakova

Soldiers in the Soledar area fire a huge Soviet M-46 gun at Russian forces into a sky full of flames
Artillerymen fire at Russian forces in the Soledar area with a Soviet M-46 gun loaned to Ukraine by Croatia, November 11 2022 © Iryna Rybakova

Yana Sidash

b 1995

Documentary photographer focusing on civilian suffering following the Russian invasion.

Sidash’s project “Holding Hope” documents survivors of the Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine. Alongside these portraits are handwritten memories of life during that time. 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.

Oskana, a middle-aged Ukrainian woman wearing a woolly hat and a blue puffa jacket with a fur trim looks into the camera. A poem she has written is displayed beside her
Holding Hope, 2022 © Yana Sidash

Oksana, Maksymivka village

“Embroidery” (a poem)

The embroidery on my chest
Cannot be removed.
I don’t wear it in public
But it can never be torn from my heart
There is no need to raise my flag —
This flag is not made of cloth.
Sunflower field and sky must be seen
I will ever live for its glory
Its coat of arms — I will make a tattoo
on my shoulders
So all can see and never do they ask,
‘Where are you from?’
and never will it be thought by anyone
That Ukraine is Russian land.

Nastya, an eight-year-old Ukrainian girl from Mariupol in a woolly hall and a warm coat, stares into the camera. A picture of a unicorn that she has drawn is displayed beside her
© Yana Sidash

Nastya, Mariupol

A drawing of a unicorn.

Bohdan, a young Ukrainian man from Hrushivka, wearing a woolly hat and a blue jacket looks into the camera. A hand-written account of his life under Russian occupation is displayed next to his picture

Bohdan, Hrushivka village

The first month was the hardest, both mentally and physically. It was morally difficult to see how our military was leaving the city and how, after a week, the convoys of the aggressor country began to occupy my city.

In order to help our AFU (armed forces of Ukraine), I started to count the equipment and, with the help of my friend, transfer this data to the SBU (Ukraine’s security service) and the border service. Every day I would sit by the window with a phone, a piece of paper and a pen, and finish by cleaning the phone and burning the same piece of paper. And so it continued for several months, until the time when the connection disappeared completely.

Daniil Russov

b 1997

Photographer who has been documenting the war since March 2022 using analogue film.

An abandoned classroom with broken windows full of debris and broken desks and chairs in Vil’hivka. It was used by occupying Russian troops as a barracks
A classroom in a school that was occupied by Russian troops and used as a barracks, Vil’hivka, Kharkiv region © Daniil Russov

Men in white plastic suits lift a bag containing a body excavated from a trench during the exhumation of a mass grave containing 447 corpses in Izyum.
A mass grave being exhumed in Izyum, Kharkiv region. The exhumation process was completed at the end of September. In total, 447 bodies were found, most of them civilians, including women and children. Most victims bore signs of violence, and 30 of them signs of torture. Bodies were found with ropes around their necks, with their hands tied, and with broken limbs and gunshot wounds. Some of the men’s genitals had been cut off © Daniil Russov

A missile is launched into the sky, leaving a streak in the sky behind it
Ukrainian servicemen of the 58th brigade launch a BM-21 “Grad” missile, near Bakhmut © Daniil Russov

Oleksandr Kuchynskyi

b 1995

Graphic artist, painter and illustrator.

Kuchynskyi made this collage, entitled “30000 200” (2022), when the Russians entered Severodonetsk at the end of May 2022. By this point, the Russian army had lost more than 30,000 troops.

A collage comprising a sunflower, the body of a soldier, a man collapsed on a wooden cross and a battered car, against a background daubed in the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow
30000 200 (2022) © Oleksandr Kuchynskyi

Oleksii Furman

b 1991

Photojournalist working with Getty Images, who has been documenting war since 2014.

A man opening the door of his garage at night. The light  shines through the doors numerous bullet holes
Volodymyr Tykhonov, 76, opens his garage door, which is peppered with bullet holes, April 28 2022, Zahaltsi, Kyiv region © Oleksii Furman/Getty Images

An abandoned car sits next to a burnt-out apartment building in Hostomel, a town occupied by Russian forces for more than a month
A damaged car next to a burnt-out apartment building in Hostomel, April 6 2022. The town was occupied for more than a month by Russian forces as they pushed towards Kyiv before ultimately retreating to Belarus © Oleksii Furman/Getty Image

A badly damaged house in Andriivka. On the gate someone has spray-painted the words: ‘People, Kids live here’
A gate with the spray-painted words ‘People, kids live here’, April 8 2022, Andriivka, Kyiv region © Oleksii Furman/Getty Images

Sofiia Homin

b 2002

Journalism student who uses analogue film to explore the impact of the war on Ukrainians.

In “There Are No Toy Soldiers” (2022), Homin attempts to represent what the residents of the Kyiv region faced in the aftermath of Russia’s occupation and, amid an uncertain future, to explore what is left. The work includes photograms of abandoned objects and is printed on Soviet-era photographic paper.

A house with high walls, peppered by bullet holes
There Are No Toy Soldiers, 2022 © Sofiia Homin

Shapes resembling humans shrouded in dark material and bound with string
© Sofiia Homin

A string of toy soldiers and crosses, shown as white outlines against a black background
© Sofiia Homin

Roman Bordun

b 1987

Photographer and film director.

The inside of a rubble-strewn apartment; a bright blue sky can be seen through its empty window frames
Destroyed apartment, Irpin, Kyiv region, June 2022 © Roman Bordun

A vase sits intact amid rubble in a destroyed house. A tree can be seen through the empty window frame
Destroyed apartment, Irpin, Kyiv region, June 2022 © Roman Bordun

A pile of rubble, shot from above. A burnt-out apartment block can be seen through a hole in the middle of the rubble
Destroyed house, Irpin, Kyiv region, July 2022 © Roman Bordun; @theinformationfront

Follow @FTMag on Twitter to find out about our latest stories first

Next Post

Photographer Jessica Hill's Easy Breezy Posing Tips

When it will come to creating people today comfy in front of your camera, it’s essential to give assistance and show self-confidence. To make it effortless to get the good shots they’re hunting for, it assists to have dozens of strategies for poses that are enjoyable and organic and natural. […]
Photographer Jessica Hill’s Easy Breezy Posing Tips