Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts tagged ‘ukraine’

Kyiv, Ukraine (July 13, 2014)


Glory to Ukraine! I grew up with my mother’s family. I remember as a child asking my grandmother where in Europe did our family come from? The answer was Austria-Hungary. I didn’t think much of it at the time. As I learned later the Austro-Hungarian Empire was on the losing side in World War I. But as my family seemed well educated I assumed that the family’s roots were probably in Vienna, a great cultural capital at the time. Assume nothing. Many decades later using I discovered that one of my grandmother’s brothers who emigrated from Europe along with my great grandparents and a sister listed Kolomiyya as his home of record. My grandmother had spoke often of Galacia, which also no longer exists except in the memory of the very old. Kolomiyya is located on the east bank of the Prut River in what today is Ukraine. At the time it was at the very far eastern edge of the Austro-Hungarian realm. I would argue that the family in earlier times had migrated from central Europe eastward to eventually settle in Kolomiyya. Kolomiyya was a thriving city offering good opportunities. There were many other families living there with the same surname as my great grandparents. Over time, things got ugly and my great grandparents along with two of their eventually six children left by a ship using steam power and sails for America from Hamburg in the 1890s. So this is my connection to Ukraine.

From the moment the first Russian tank crossed into Ukraine Putin’s fate was sealed. He is finished, but he doesn’t yet know it. Mikhail Gorbachev once said that Russia cannot live without Ukraine. Probably true. It’s too cold in Russia to grow the food necessary to support its people. Ukraine has lots of wheat. Russia has lot of oil and gas. It seems to be a simple matter of a trade agreement in the 21st century. No need for an invasion. Ukraine will always, geographically speaking, be next to Russia. But Ukraine has a brutal history of relations with Russia going back to Catherine the Great and more recently Stalin. They will never surrender to what they know is in store for them if Putin is successful. You cannot think that Ukraine is the endgame for Putin. Moldova would surely be next followed by the Baltic nations. By the way, my father’s ancestors came from Lithuania. Eventually, Putin would move on the rest of eastern Europe. Let us not make another Sudetenland out of Ukraine.

Remember. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me-and there was no one to speak for me.”  — Martin Niemöller.

Ukrainian Nationalist Flags“; Kyiv, Ukraine July 13, 2014.  Photo by Sean Work/DPI


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” — Edmund Burke

"Ukraine: The Queue" c.1950


With all due respect to the lovely young women in this photo my attention was drawn to the line of people stretching for several blocks behind them. During Soviet times consumer goods were always scarce especially Western imports. As these goods were made available people often chose to take time off from work in the hopes of obtaining them. The queue in this photo represents such a situation. You don’t really think that they were lining up for concert tickets, do you? Anyway, one item often mentioned at the time was Italian ladies shoes. Bear in mind that even if you managed to get to the front of the line the shoes given to you might be the wrong size. The people knew this but because they had value the shoes could be bartered for something else. So was the state of the economy for decades until the Soviet Union finally collapsed. Their command economy was driven to build weapons not consumer goods.

Ukraine” The Queue” c.1950

Ukraine c.1980


If you appreciate great photography you will recall with admiration Steve McCurry’s photograph “Afghan Girl”. His photo of Sharbat Gula in an Afghan refugee camp in 1984 was on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985. A haunting image it has stood the test of time and remains a truly outstanding work. Attention is now given to the war in Ukraine, so when we came upon “Ukrainian Girl” c.1980 we immediately made the connection with Sharbat Gula. Maybe it’s her eyes that captivate us as was the case with Gula’s. In any event this photo came to us direct from Kyiv, a city without power and water in the middle of a war zone. Speaks volumes about Ukrainians.


Ukraine, c.1938


The mail must go through! We recently purchased several photos from Ukraine. Shown here is “Ukrainian Wedding“, c.1938. This is a traditional Ukrainian wedding scene. But the country is now at war! This photo came to us by way of Kyiv and with power and water cuts to Kyiv delivery could be in peril. The photo arrived in a little over a week. Future deliveries in these wartime conditions may never arrive. Mail from some European countries has taken as long as a month or longer to reach the United States and they are not in an active war situation. A people as steadfast as the Ukrainians need to be saved.


Ukrainian Postal System

Vienna Woods, Austria (1950)


Today is the 4th anniversary of my triple bypass heart surgery. Had it not been successful you would not now be reading this blog. Life is good. “The Russian Zone“; Vienna Woods, Austria (1950). If the West had not stood firm Austrians would be speaking Russian today. But we did. A lesson here for the brave citizens of Ukraine. If Putin is successful with the annexation of the occupied territories (Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Lukansk and Donestsk) you might see similar Russian zone signs this time in Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine!


“Glory to Ukraine”. “Glory to the Heroes”. Sean Work traveled throughout Ukraine in the summer of 2014. He contributed his work to DPI in July 2015, and it has been a main feature on our website to include our homepage. Since the war began we have been featuring Sean’s photos on our Twitter page every day and will continue to do so until the conclusion of the conflict. Presented in this blog are 14 selected photos taken from Sean’s essay. They include photos taken in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Sloviansk in the Donbas. View the complete essay at:


This photo essay has been contributed by Sean Work.  Sean is a photojournalist based in Detroit.  Recently, he covered the crisis in Ukraine and its effect upon the daily lives of the people.  This is illustrated in the photos of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and how they are trying to survive.  There are many nationalistic scenes showing resistance to Russian interference.  Sean’s photos speak for themselves.  The following is his description of events as he witnessed them.

Read more…