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Maxim Dondyuk, Between Life and Death


After presenting the recipients of the 2017 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography awards on October 18, 2017 (Daniel Garcia Castro, Edmund Clark and Alex Majoli), The Eye of Photography joins the organization and features the works of the prize finalists.

This is an ongoing long term project about the war in Ukraine. The goal is to investigate how the war transformed peoples’ consciousness, how the war changed people and territories in a short period of time, the scars that war left not only in human souls, but also on territories. The main approach is to focus on individual stories of veterans who have passed the war, to create intimate portraits, and to document devastated territories and object that some time ago were people’s homes or strategically important objects, but now stand abandoned and forgotten.

Four years have passed since the people of Ukraine protested against tyranny, abuse of power, poverty, lack of justice, but most importantly, the people came out in support of European values.

Working on the project Between Life and Death, my goal is to focus on individual stories. I plan to meet with a new generation of veterans of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, whom I had first met on the front in 2014. I want to explore their stories in depth. I want them to remember the moments on the frontline that changed them, transformed their consciousness. At war in Donbas, there are not only professional soldiers, but also musicians, writers, photographers, office workers, businesspeople, etc. With this project, I want to investigate what drove them to take arms and to fight for their country.

Along with portraits of veterans, I will continue exploring the landscape of war in Donbass, the scars that war left not only in human souls, but also on the territories. And how these scars affect people’s life. … Life isn’t pictured in photos, but looking at them, you can imagine what life is like within that landscape.


Maxim Dondyuk

Since 2010 Maxim Dondyuk is a freelancer, works on creating and promoting his own documentary projects. He is interested in stories about which he knows very little or even nothing.


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