“The annual Den’s photo exhibition is a phenomenon that has not yet been comprehended in the entirety of its social significance. Going beyond photos themselves, the event offers a philosophy of our time, history, love and hatred... Russia’s war against Ukraine is reflected through human sufferings and victories. Praise be to the newspaper Den and thanks to everyone who organizes such a unique annual event,” – these impressions about the exhibition were shared by the statesman Yevhen Marchuk in its visitors’ book.
Colorful and a little bit bitter – these are the impressions left by 350 best photos of our photo competition in the minds of about 6,000 visitors. Everything was in line with the “lime” concept of the event that took place in the Lavra Gallery in early November. The winners of the Audience Award have been determined, the works have been packed away, but our “Photo-Synthesis” does not stop, as the exhibition will soon go on a national tour to infuse, give “oxygen” for important reflections and deeds.
The subjects of our photos reach new heights through superhuman efforts, both in the literal sense, as in Yurii Velychko’s series An Ascent, and in the figurative one. They cling to life and seek beauty in all circumstances, like the IDP Fairy, pictured by Oleksandr Khomenko, which brought him the Golden Den Prize of Prizes. So, follow the exhibition route to see the best works of the 19th International Photo Competition in your city. And for the moment, let us sum up the results of the event in Kyiv.
EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE... UNFORTUNATELY, WITHOUT ME / Photo by Inna OSKOLSKA
BOTH TEARS AND LOVE
The most pleasant moment on the last day of the exhibition was counting the votes of visitors to determine the winners of the Audience Award. Several hundred people joined the “plebiscite.” The winners will receive an annual subscription to the Den newspaper, our Treasure Chest, and sweet gifts from our partners.
The trio of winners looks as follows:
1 Inna Oskolska, Kyiv, Everything Will Be Fine... Unfortunately, Without Me.
2 Oleh Nych, Chechelnyk, In a Playful Mood.
3 Dmytro Desiateryk, Kyiv, Heavenly Obolon.
As you can see, the Top 3 turned out to be highly diverse. The first photo is war-themed, it is a portrait of a soldier, Oleh Dynka (nom de guerre Yeher), a volunteer of the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps’s 1st Separate Assault Company, who was killed in action this September. In a Playful Mood is a moving and life-affirming work, showing an aged (but spiritually young) couple kissing. Finally, Heavenly Obolon is an art photo that makes one see everyday landscapes differently.
“THIS OPTIMISM FILLS US UP”
The work Everything Will Be Fine... Unfortunately, Without Me was remarked on a lot by visitors. For instance, this photo elicited a strong response from MP Iryna Konstankevych. “Generally, I liked many works. I agree with the choice of winners,” she added. “I love the Den newspaper and the projects it implements: books, photo exhibitions. Speaking specifically about the 19th Den’s International Photo Competition, it has its own face. I would call it the face of a war that hit the Ukrainian people as a whole and many individuals. However, war-themed works make one more optimistic. They depict the fate of the heroes who lost their loved ones or got wounded. But these people have not lost faith in life, faith in their cause. This optimism fills us up, gives strength and faith.”
Oskolska rejoiced greatly on her win. She submitted her portrait of Dynka to the competition, so that the memory of the volunteer “was preserved not only in personal archives,” and the newly-won distinction will contribute to this. The photographer told us the story of the picture: “I met him in the anti-terrorist operation area. It was a brief acquaintance. Probably a situational one as well. But for a short period of time, the man opened up, it was interesting for us to communicate. The closer to the front, the more the relationship between people changes, as they become united by a certain idea, a common view of the world. Everything is somehow more open, honest there. Dynka was a quite modest person, and, if I got it right, he was not too used to having his pictures taken. During a conversation with him, I wanted to take a few pictures and so, we held a small photo session while talking to each other. When I found out what had happened to him, these pictures got a little different in meaning. I wept over them...”
By the way, now activists from Zaporizhia, the soldier’s hometown, are seeking to have a public garden named after Dynka. They filed documents for this, and the case is being considered.