Anastasia Taylor-Lind - a photographer in Ukraine / by Marek Charytonowicz

Image by Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Image by Anastasia Taylor-Lind

In most cases photographer's stories from the conflict zones are about heroic getting to the middle of it. The danger is all around yet they go in to bear the witness, the let the world know and by that to potentially help the affected people. Awareness and publicity is power. What one doesn't know is not happening. 

Famous Robert Capa's motto says "If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough". I agree with it wholeheartedly. 

The reason why I put the link to the article from National Geographic about Anastasia Taylor-Lind photographic assignment in war-torn Ukraine is because it tells a different story. She does not enter the immediate war zone, she turns back because she fears that this might cost her her life. As she gets closer and closer to the area of military operations, the potential consequences of getting to the front line make her turn back.  But this is not an act of cowardice. This is an act of discovering that photography is not what other people say it is. Photography is always a personal view. And this personal view doesn't follow beaten paths, well established formats. The story you want to tell needs to be told in a way that you yourself find most effective. And sometimes that means not being on the front line. And not being close enough.

I don’t want to make these photographs. There are so many of them out there already, and they only go so far in helping us understand the world today. What I know is that I have huge respect for the photojournalists who cover the war from the front lines, taking incredible risks in doing so. But I can’t find it in myself to take these same risks. What this trip taught me is that I can’t work in a hectic, fast-moving and turbulent environment. My photography isn’t about that.

I spent three weeks in Donetsk Oblast wondering how I could represent what’s happening in eastern Ukraine today. In the end, nothing I could have done would have been as powerful as the series of family photographs I stumbled upon on one of my last days in Ukraine.
— Anastasia Taylor-Lind