“Lands of No Return” is a long-term project that portrays the last remnants of authentic Ukrainian villages and their elderly inhabitants.
I was born in Ukraine; my grandparents lived in one of the small villages near Kiev. I remember visiting their home as a child—those memories are filled with light and happiness. When I visited the village again for the first time many years after I emigrated, I was astonished at how lifeless and miserable it looked. There were almost exclusively elderly people in the village. They are living out their last days: neglected by the government and often abandoned by their families. Along with their traditions and their homes, they are slowly disappearing…
Over the last 10 years, I traveled to Ukraine several times and photographed the villages around 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 are buried) in one of these villages.
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 in history books. Continue reading.