Ukrainian Photographers Witness War in Ukraine

Volume 1 of The Information Front features photojournalism covering the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022. Photographers were suddenly thrust on the front lines; many had never covered news, let alone conflict and war in their own territory. Volume 1 takes the form of a newspaper, a fitting media considering the global stakes of this conflict. The Information Front commissioned Ukrainian poet, author, and political activist Serhiy Zhadan to write a short essay at the start of the war:

We should keep watching, even if it is scary

On 24 February, Russia launched a massive offensive against Ukraine. The full-scale war started bringing radical changes to millions of Ukrainian lives. Someone took weapons to defend their country, someone started volunteering to help civilians and armed forces, someone was forced to flee, someone was captured, someone found themselves on the occupied territory. The worst thing is that many are no longer alive. This war has changed the face of the country. Radically. Destroyed residential areas, burnt military equipment, broken roads, blown up bridges – the face of the war is marked with extensive pain, sorrow and fear. There is also hope though. Hope for justice and hope for victory.

War is frightening. Shelling is frightening, losing loved ones is frightening. However, it is important for the world to understand one simple thing – Ukrainians are not afraid. Ukrainians are fighting back, Ukrainians are defending their cities, Ukrainians are defending their future. Moreover, I do believe that today Ukrainians are defending the future of Europe – peaceful, democratic Europe, where nobody violates international norms and laws, or commits war crimes.

Ukrainians are opposing the army of looters, rapists and war criminals. It is very important that Europeans stand with us in this arduous and bloody confrontation. We need your support. We need your understanding and solidarity. We are trying to protect ourselves, our parents and children. Seeing the world sharing this burden and this challenge with us actually gives us strength and confidence.

Today everyone can see horrifying photographs of Russia’s military aggression. They can be shocking, frightening or disgusting. The war is really scary and ugly. However, everyone should see these images. Even if they are horrifying. To see in order to understand, what evil, what cruelty and cynicism we are facing today and what darkness we are opposing.

Ukraine will undoubtedly win. We will defend our freedom and future. However, it is important to record this chronicle of struggle and resistance, this bloody imprint of time, this fight of people of light against the forces of darkness. It is important to record all this to give no chance to evil in the future.

Serhiy Zhadan  

Serhiy Zhadan is a Ukrainian poet, author and political activist who resides in Kharkiv. English translations of Zhadan’s work include the books Depeche Mode, Voroshilovgrad, and Mesopotamia. 

Ukrainian Photographers Witness War in Ukraine

Volume 1 of The Information Front was made possible with the support of Free Press Unlimited through its “Media Lifeline Ukraine” and “Reporters Respond” initiatives, Pictoright, and Newspaper Club.