Lands of No-Return (Chapter 1 , 2009)
LANDS OD NO-RETURN (Chapter 1, 2009) is the first part of my long-term ongoing project portraying the last remains of authentic Ukrainian villages and its elderly inhabitants.
I was born in Ukraine, and my grandparents lived in one of the small villages near Kiev. I remember visiting this place as a child. Those memories are filled with light and happiness. When I visited this village again for the first time after many years of immigration, I was astonished at how lifeless and miserable it looked. Those who remained there were almost exclusively the elderly. They are living out their last days in those places, neglected by the government and often abandoned even by their families. They are gradually disappearing together with their traditions and their deteriorating homes.
Over the last 10 years, I came to Ukraine several times and photographed the villages surrounding its capital.
For me this series is a kind of tribute to the past. This project is the most personal of all my works because it is directly related to my grandfather and great grandmother who were born and who are buried in one of these villages.
However, even though this project started as a personal journey, the more I worked on it, the more I realized that capturing and commemorating these people and places has a greater value. They are the last remaining evidence of the once magical and vibrant culture that will soon be known only from the history books.