My book Masks of the Holodomor has been selected to take part in the Magnum Portfolio Review on Friday 28th June. The 30 photographers selected will be put into groups and assigned to one of the Magnum photographers who will be taking the sessions.
and David Alan Harvey.
I have my fingers crossed for Jonas group as he has done extensive work in Russia.
The trip is over, the film had been developed and the images are in.
The time to collect my archive has ended and now I am left with the mammoth task of creating a book before 10th May!
Shortly I will be posting a few ideas and images for the book, it would be great to get feedback on this if you are interested in the subject of the Holodomor, propaganda, fine art, photography or Russian history. Even if your not but feel you have something to share please feel free.
Went on a 12 miles walk in the snow today (with a chest infection) I was a bit slow but did go to 3 different cemeteries.
Also experienced a post office today.
On my last visit to Ukraine I met a wonderful family who had experienced some bad luck some may call it and I promised the children I would send them some gifts and so today was the day of posting. Unfortunately, the address was not in Russian or Ukrainian and the lady at the desk did not speak English, so I did not understand when she was trying to explain to me that the address needed to be in Russian and have a contact number but thanks to a English speaking Ukrainian I managed to post the presents for the children. I do not go a day without experiencing the helpfulness or kindness of a Ukrainian.
Spent my afternoon walking around a cemetery in kharkov. However, my time has not been overly productive due to illness but this change in pace allowed me to experience the surroundings and it really opened my eyes to the love Ukrainians hold and express. They have a wonderful way to show this love for the people who have passed through the headstone engravings and sculptures.
Second trip to Ukraine but this time kharkov via Turkey.
Word of warning if you are British and are going through Turkey for a transfer, you will need a visa to go for a fag and it will cost you £10.
Kharkov airport currency exchange will also not change British money, although everyone else will but this does not help if you are stuck at the airport.
Got caught by the police drinking and he wanted to take me away until he noticed I was British or maybe he was just in a good mood. This is unheard of in ukraine, they will take money off you even if you have not broken the law so I am extremely lucky to have this experience.
When my Ukrainian taxi driver showed up ten minutes late he asked when my flight was. As he had a little over 30 mins to do a 40min journey and was faced with bad traffic he floored it. In Ukraine, drivers are crazy anyway, which I think is odd as the driver will always been the one prosecuted if an accident happens even if he is not at fault.
So my taxi driver must have changed lanes a million times and then even drove through a petrol station to avoid a red light. I’m still alive and didn’t miss my flight so well done to him.
I then had to fly on a Fokker. Anyone who has journeyed on this plane knows how scary that is, it sounded like a 30year old motor that hadn’t been serviced in years. My mind went to dark places.
And finally I had one more flight to Amsterdam but when we arrived we were not cleared to land and the pilot decided to tell us that we could not land but we were running out of fuel ….. WHAT, WHY DID YOU TELL US THAT.
So Ukraine = safe
Transport = risk your life
Today I was a little lazy.
I repacked my bag, which took me so long due to the over buying of vodka and gifts of walnuts. I think this may even send me over my baggage allowance but I will not find out until I get to the airport.
I also met with Sasha one last time and he gave me copies of his family documents, which show how the Soviets imprisoned his grandfather and the found him not guilty after he had already died. I also got a copy of another families documents of a similar nature.
I have booked my last transport home too, so I know I will finally get to see my wonderful family at 20.00 on Friday.
This will be my last post for this trip. Tomorrow I will fly at 19.00, stay in Latvia for 12 hours and fly into Schiphol on the 15th. Followed by a near 12 hour coach ride the next day to London, bring on Friday night.
Thanks for following my trip.
I never thought I would ever go to this place but today I fulfilled a dream.
We all know what, where, how and why so I will not explain the history but what I will say is: I would recommend this place to everyone.
You can see the new casing being built for reactor No 4 as the one housing it now will no longer work efficiently by 2016. This means the builders have to complete the project on time and we all know, no matter what country you come from that this is an impossible task for all builders.
The food in the canteen is amazing, they really know how to feed people in Ukraine and as anyone who is interested in this places knows, all the food is brought in.
Over 3,000 people work here and some older Ukrainians have returned to there homes and have lived in Chernobyl for years. These people have their own currency….. moonshine 🙂 you have to love the spirit of these people.
The place is also home to horses, lynx, wild boar, vipers and wolves, so if you are just as interested in the wildlife, I suggest you pick a time of year you are more likely to see these things. Although maybe avoid breading season. I was lucky as I saw a wild horse and they have not been seen by the guides for a long time because it is getting colder.
I would also like to add that if you would like to see this place, sooner is better than later as they believe that none of the building will still be standing in a few years to come. There was a large section of the school in Pripyat that collapsed this time last year and some tourists fell through the floor in one of the other buildings, which just goes to show how unstable this place has become.
Had another productive day today. I went back to visit Sashas grandmother as she was happy for me to take a photograph of her and I am so glad she changed her mind, you will see why when you see the photograph. Beautiful woman. I was also given an extensive amount of walnuts and when I say extensive I mean like 2kg or maybe 3kg.
After this visit I went to interview the mayor of the town. He is working really hard to change the place for the better and aiming most of his efforts at changing the place for the children. I must add here that this is an unusual situation, most political figures are only out for themselves but this man is different.
He has opened a gym, so the children can take part in boxing, wrestling and football. He is also fighting to re-open the swimming pool that the last mayor turned into a shop (this made him more money) and he is not corrupt and again I must not this is unusual. I am hoping to spread the word of this mans work and if anyone is interested in knowing more then feel free to ask.
I was then fed even more delicious food by Sasha’s mother before we headed back to Kyiv.