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Photographer Yevhen Samuchenko’s love letter to his Ukrainian homeland

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

In Snap, we glimpse at the electrical power of a one photograph, chronicling stories about how the two contemporary and historical images have been designed.

In a drone photograph by Yevhen Samuchenko, Lake Lemuria, the so-named “Lifeless Sea of Ukraine,” can take on a surreal, otherworldly high quality. Its waters turned pink by algae, its shoreline streaked with white salt deposits, the physique of drinking water may simply be confused for an abstract portray had been it not for the existence of two tiny figures and their nearby vehicle.

“I wished to demonstrate the scale of the landscape, since when you see the really modest men and women, you fully grasp how major the place is,” said Samuchenko, by means of a translator, on a video clip connect with from his home in the Ukrainian metropolis of Odesa. “But I also want the viewer to see by themselves as getting like these people today — to invite them into the image.”

The photographer’s mission to showcase Ukraine’s pure magnificence has taken on new urgency following Russia’s whole-scale invasion in February. Because Samuchenko captured the graphic, titled “White Car & Two Men and women,” in 2019, the area in which the lake is located, Kherson Oblast, has been partly occupied by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

When Samuchenko frequented, even so, the lake was a peaceful location — just one reachable only by way of “very negative streets” and with extremely minimal vacationer infrastructure, he discussed. The figures standing face-to-face in the picture are two of Samuchenko’s fellow photographers, nevertheless he says the moment shared by his two pals was spontaneous, not posed.

Samuchenko's photos of Lake Lemuria have been recognized by several major photography awards.

Samuchenko’s images of Lake Lemuria have been identified by many main photography awards. Credit history: Yevhen Samuchenko

“White Motor vehicle & Two People today” has due to the fact been shortlisted for the prestigious Earth Image 2022 level of competition, though the photographer’s broader series on Lake Lemuria, titled “At the Pink Earth,” has been recognized by Sony Planet Images Awards and Travel Photographer of the Yr competitions.

‘My frontline’

Samuchenko not long ago donated his drone to the Ukrainian military services, and he says it is presently not possible for him to operate as a photographer. But in a conflict that may perhaps hinge on the aid of sympathetic allies, he hopes his do the job can nevertheless contribute to the war energy by appealing to hearts and minds. “It’s my frontline,” he reported.

About the summer season, Samuchenko released a book showcasing pretty much 150 of his photos, like numerous from regions devastated by conflict, these as Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr Oblasts. “The Elegance of Ukraine,” which was shot around the course of two yrs, acts as a survey of the country’s broad and different geography, spanning both equally natural and male-produced landscapes.

Like his images of Lake Lemuria, the painterly shots reveal hidden symmetries, styles and designs. Canyons, riverbeds, forests and farmland burst with shade and consider on a surreal new elegance when seen from over.

Samuchenko's new book shows Ukraine's vast and varied landscapes.

Samuchenko’s new book demonstrates Ukraine’s large and varied landscapes. Credit score: Yevhen Samuchenko

Samuchenko’s reserve was previously in manufacturing when the war started. Some of the destinations depicted have given that been harmed, in accordance to author Lucia Bondar, who wrote the accompanying text.

“Even mother nature has experienced mainly because of this horrible war,” she stated, including: “It’s extremely essential to demonstrate the entire world now the other aspect of Ukraine. Each individual day, the whole earth sees these spectacular shots on their screens, in true time. They see this agony and these tears… In our book they can see the other aspect of Ukraine — of our people, of our life and of pure beauty.”

The Magnificence of Ukraine: Landscape Images,” revealed by teNeues, is accessible now.

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