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Photo book by Ukrainian documentary filmmakers "13 Stories of War" presented in Sweden


13 photo essays through the eyes of photographers about how Ukraine has suffered from Russian military violence. Through their personal stories and emotions, the documentarians offer Western audiences a better understanding of the enduring strength of Ukrainians' human resilience during the Russian invasion. The photo reports, which tell about the experience of the photographers themselves and their fellow citizens during the war, were prepared by the Ukrainian Warchive.


The idea of creating the book crystallized in the mind of the art director of the photo archive Mykhailo Pedan after the positive feedback to the exhibition "Invasion", which was organized jointly with the Center for Photography in Stockholm.


"The book is correlated with the concept of the exhibition of Ukrainian photographers. The audience reacted emotionally to the textual component of this installation. That's why we started working on the photo book," explains Emine Ziyatdinova, co-founder of Ukrainian Warchive and photo editor. She notes that, first of all, this publication is not only about the people or places depicted in the photographs, but also about the photographers themselves, who live and work in Ukraine. "Each of the 13 photographers makes a professional contribution to documenting the destruction in their homeland," the photo editor emphasizes.



All the essays are different: from photos from the frontline to photographs of landscapes, which at the same time complement each other. The book includes works by professional photojournalists. Oleksandr Glyadelov, Yevhen Maloletka, Yulia Kochetova, and Olena Hrom have been widely covering the Russian-Ukrainian war since 2014. Visual artists such as Sasha Kurmaz, Yana Kononova, Liza Bukreeva, and Roman Bordun shifted their focus from existential reflections to contemporary society, capturing the harsh reality of Russia's military aggression. Roman Pashkovsky switched from studio lighting and portraits to shooting the de-occupied territories. Vyacheslav Ratynsky, known for his news coverage for international and local media, turned his lens to conflict photography. Serhii Polezhaka, who had been running his own company since 2016 and had been working mainly with virtual reality and IT, returned to his panoramic camera in 2022.

Olya Koval, who is currently studying cinematography at the Kyiv National University, uses her camera to explore how daily life in her hometown has changed. Dmytro Kozatskyi, former head of the press service of the Azov Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine, became the eyes and voice of the Ukrainian military, who were surrounded at "Azovstal".


Emine explains that the book's compilers wanted to include a selection of photographs that tell a story, rather than individual images: "Because they give the reader a deeper understanding of what is happening and what the context is. It can evoke empathy faster."


13 Stories of War will be published in English, as it is intended for a Western audience. However, Emine says, this book is also important for Ukrainian photography. Its purpose is to explain how documentary filmmakers work and to convey the perspective of Ukrainian photographers on the war they are experiencing at home.


The book will be presented on February 21 at the Hasselblad Museum in Sweden, and will be available for ordering online. The publication will also be taken to Kyiv in March and presented at the Naked Room Gallery. In May, the book will be presented at the Book Arsenal.


"13 Stories of War is published with the support of the Swedish Institute, the Hasselblad Foundation, and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, IWM) as part of the Documenting Ukraine program.

 

All the photos are part of the Ukrainian Warchive (Ukrainian Photo Archive of War) collection. It is a digital archive that collects and stores photographs by professional photographers documenting the Russian-Ukrainian war. The goal is to preserve the photographic heritage and memory of the war, to support Ukrainian photographers in documenting events, while promoting their work and unique vision.

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