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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Photo unites Ukraine

One photo made by <I>The Day</I>‘s press photographer Ruslan Kaniuka stands out across Ukraine
28 July, 2009 - 00:00

On July 22, Chechelnyk, a town in Vinnytsia oblast, hosted the closing ceremony of The Day’s photo exhibit, which was opened on July 10. As previously reported, its journalists, among them Editor in Chief Larysa Ivshyna and the guest of honor, Yevhen Marchuk, were accorded welcome in Chechelnyk. Thanks to Pavlo Kalenych, head of the local agrarian firm Olhopil, the residents of Chechelnyk were able to explore The Day’s photo exhibit for the second time.

Says Oleh Nych, a regular participant in The Day’s photo exhibit and a Chechelnyk native: “Thanks to Editor in Chief Larysa Ivshyna the residents of Chechelnyk felt they were the heroes of Ukraine for the second time. Since we hosted this photo exhibit two years ago my compatriots’ interest in the art of photography has noticeably increased.”

Traditionally, we invited people who explored our exhibit to offer their comments and name the best items on display. This time such comments were especially important, because The Day’s Editor in Chief Larysa Ivshyna promised to present Chechelnyk with the winner’s photo. The result was the same as in Lviv, Lutsk, and Chernihiv and the audience’s choice was Ruslan Kaniuka’s photo entitled “I’ve been thinking of you all the time,” a romantic scene of a Ukrainian sailor meeting his sweetheart after release from piratical captivity. In fact, Kaniuka’s photo served to unite all Ukraine (it had won the Fifth Channel’s special prize at the launch of the exhibit at the Ukrainian Home in Kyiv). It is simple to explain the audience’s choice, considering that all of Ukraine was concerned about the sailors taken hostage.

Kaniuka says he took this picture as Boryspil Airport just as the Faina crew returned home from captivity. His camera captured the moment of a young seaman embracing his wife. They had married shortly before that fateful voyage. Kaniuka also believes that for a photographer the main thing is to be at the right place at the right time: “There is less than a second between a brilliant and a talentless shot. You just have to press the button at the right time. The Day offers me an excellent opportunity of capturing the most important events in Ukraine’s sociopolitical and spiritual life.”

Says Oleh Nych: “After sharing a world of emotions with the heroes of our photos, we have become kinder, more understanding, and more perceptive. We have become more aware of other peoples’ joys and sorrows. That was probably why Ruslan Kaniuka‘s photo won the competition in Chechelnyk.”

People who explored the photo exhibit also noted Nadia Nikolaieva’s philosophic photograph entitled “Two Lonely Hearts Met” (Kyiv); Olha Kuznetsova’s “I Love Watermelons” (Kyiv), a cheerful photo, an absolute favorite at the Kyiv launch; The Day’s Kostiantyn Hryshyn’s ironical photo “She Finally Called!”, and, of course, Oleh Nych’s “My Village” and “On the Way Home.” Needless to say, this year’s new nomination “The World through Children’s Eyes” left none of the locals indifferent.

The mobile photo gallery continues its tour around Vinnytsia oblast. Its next stop is Olhopil, a town not far from Chechelnyk.

By Anastasia SAMOSHYNA and Anna SLIESARIEVA, The Day’s School of Summer Journalism