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«These are the people we will thank for a long time to come.» Photographer Sasha Maslov about the «SAINTS» photo book and its heroes

Sasha Maslov, a Ukrainian-American photographer from Kharkiv and UAPF member, together with the Canadian-Ukrainian project Saint Javelin, presented the photo book «SAINTS». This is a publication about the personal sacrifice of people who decided to resist the brutal Russian invasion, which the whole world has been watching since February 24, 2024, until now.

«SAINTS» features photographs of more than 100 heroes who contributed to the defense of Ukraine during the war. These are soldiers, volunteers, journalists, artists, etc. The list also includes foreigners. Some of the book's heroes have already died in the war.

Sasha Maslov explains why he calls his characters «saints». «I always immediately begin to defend the critics of this title because I understand perfectly well that the name «Saints» can be interpreted in different ways. I do not believe that there are saints among us. I don't believe that anyone can be a saint, I'm not trying to canonize the people in the book, but the fact is that the people who are making sacrifices on this scale are the people who will be named after in the future. These are the people we will be thanking for a long time to come. Maybe it's a rather ambitious title, but I wanted to show the spectrum of what is happening right now in front of our eyes».

The cover of the publication was also chosen for a reason. The photographer says that the photo is «quite anonymous and at the same time summarizes the project». «Of course, it's very difficult to do this, but I think this photo accomplishes this mission. Besides, it's a good photo that I just like», says Sasha.

The photographer emphasizes that the heroes represented in the photo book are a small part of the people who should have been there. Some of them he did not have time to photograph because they died, some did not find the time, and some could not be reached.

«I would like to see more heroes in the book. But I also want to note that we shouldn't take the list of these heroes as some kind of axiom of sainthood or heroism. This is just a drop in the bucket of people who are making history now», the photographer concludes.

The texts for the photos were written by Nastia Stanko and produced by Valeria Husieva. The photobook was published by ist publishing, where it is currently on pre-sale. In addition, the publication is available for purchase on the Saint Javelin website, where 30% of the net proceeds will be used to purchase tactical medical equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the initiative of the Ukrainian World Congress Unite with Ukraine. Also, some of the portraits from the book can be seen at The Naked Room gallery in Kyiv until May 29.

As a reminder, Russians recently blocked the websites of Sasha Maslov and two other Ukrainian documentary filmmakers: Olena Hrom and Mstislav Chernov. The web resources of three Ukrainian documentary filmmakers, members of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, were banned in Russia with all domains and subdomains.

Sasha Maslov was born in Kharkiv. He lives and works in New York. His work has been presented at various venues in Europe and the United States. He collaborates with well-known publications, including The New Yorker, Guardian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Forbes, and others. In his spare time, he works on his personal projects, the largest of which is the Veterans project, for which he has traveled to more than 20 countries in 5 years.


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