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

“In everyone’s eyes I spot a spark of hope”

Den’s photo exhibit in Kharkiv attracts visitors and emotions
12 December, 2017 - 11:45
Photo by the author

Den’s 19th International Photo Exhibit has been open for a week already and has harvested a lot of grateful reactions: for being truthful and brave and for helping open society’s eyes to the developments in the country. And also, for giving hope. This is exactly what student Hanna Pereiaslavska, a prosecutor to be, noticed among the photos that provoke tears and despair.

“The exhibit made an unforgettable impression on me. It shows moments of grief and suffering, but it also suggests that, despite our cruel reality and the dramatic events in Ukraine, our fellow countrymen still hope for the better, whatever might happen. My favorite among all the pictures in this exhibit is Dmytro Desiateryk’s work Heavenly Obolon. From the first glance it is just your usual cityscape, a residential neighborhood with standard apartment blocks, not too bright, the typical sight we come across on a daily basis. We live in this sadness, and sometimes you just feel like bursting out: ‘Oh my God, I’m totally fed up with these joyless cityscapes, I’m fed up with this grayness!” But against this prosaic backdrop we see a bird which, it seems to me, augurs hope,” said Pereiaslavska sharing her impressions. “Our Ukrainian mentality is to always hope for the better. Even looking at the pictures from the ATO zone, in everyone’s eyes there I see hope for the better. And all in all, we must be grateful to our troops whom we see in these photos. We look at them, we see that they do not give up no matter what, and this should inspire us.”

Pereiaslavska came to the exhibit with some friends who also shared their impressions from the display. Regina Savchenko, a sophomore at the Investigative Criminology Institute at the Yaroslav the Wise National Law University, admits she is not really emotional. Yet Den’s photo exhibit stirred feelings inside which she wanted to share.

“The ATO theme is very painful for me because my mom comes from Donbas, all my family come from there, my close friends were killed in the ATO. I was very much moved by the series “Heroes’ Games” by Andrii Nesterenko. Probably because it shows how shallow our everyday problems are compared to the problems of those who survived that hell and still keep fighting, doing something in order to go on living. I was also particularly impressed by Yurii Velychko’s photo The Svitlodarsk Salient. It shows the immense loyalty of animals, they remain with us till the very last moment,” Savchenko muses. “Some pictures are hard to look at. I am a person who is not used to showing my emotions readily. But it is necessary, because without such exhibits people might overlook that what a photographer will notice. The first photos I saw on the display here were about politics, and I was bored. But when I saw the war pictures, pain squeezed my heart.”

Student Viktoria Kukhtina is an amateur of artistic photography. She confesses that next year she will also try to participate in Den’s photo contest. She thinks there are too little contests of this scale in our country. “These pictures move you with their genuineness. The emotions are sincere, they are not staged. That is why these shots stir tears and despair,” goes on Kukhtina. “My absolute favorite is Maksym Kudymets’s Infinity. This is an infinity symbol left by a car. I do not know why, but I am very much impressed by this one. Maybe because I love genuine photos, unique, not similar to others. Moreover, today people need to be shown photos on military themes, because they reflect not so much the general picture of reality but details which an outsider might overlook. Yet photographers capture them and reflect true emotions in an artistic way.”

Volodymyr from Sumy is visiting Kharkiv. In sharing his impressions he was not too wordy. After seeing the exposition he confessed that some pictures had left him depressed. But he believes that they can open some people’s eyes to our reality. “I feel so sorry for the people. To see these boys who lost their arms or legs is very painful. But this must be shown: people need to realize what is really going on in our country,” said he with anguish.

Den’s photo exhibit is open at the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater through December 23. Kharkiv is the first city after Kyiv to host it. The visitors’ reactions show that these photos are in great demand in society. They must be shown to as wide an audience as possible. The more so that the exposition includes not only war-themed pictures. Here you can also find incredible children’s emotions and seemingly routine things seen from a new, unusual perspective.

So, you are welcome at the Mykola Lysenko National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater (25, Sumska Street, Kharkiv) until December 23. Working hours: noon – 5 p.m. Free admittance. Come to choose your favorite photo.

By Liudmyla LUTYTSKA, Kharkiv