Photographer Yevhen Samuchenko’s love letter to his Ukrainian homeland

Published by Oscar Holland, CNN

In Snap, we seem at the electric power of a solitary photograph, chronicling stories about how equally present day and historic visuals have been created.

In a drone photograph by Yevhen Samuchenko, Lake Lemuria, the so-known as “Lifeless Sea of Ukraine,” takes on a surreal, otherworldly excellent. Its waters turned pink by algae, its shoreline streaked with white salt deposits, the human body of drinking water might simply be perplexed for an summary portray ended up it not for the existence of two little figures and their nearby vehicle.

“I wished to clearly show the scale of the landscape, mainly because when you see the extremely modest persons, you understand how huge the place is,” stated Samuchenko, by means of a translator, on a online video connect with from his household in the Ukrainian town of Odesa. “But I also want the viewer to see them selves as remaining like these people — to invite them into the photo.”

The photographer’s mission to showcase Ukraine’s purely natural natural beauty has taken on new urgency adhering to Russia’s complete-scale invasion in February. Due to the fact Samuchenko captured the image, titled “White Car & Two Folks,” in 2019, the location 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 — a person reachable only via “really lousy streets” and with quite very little tourist infrastructure, he described. The figures standing encounter-to-encounter in the picture are two of Samuchenko’s fellow photographers, however he states the minute shared by his two mates was spontaneous, not posed.

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

Samuchenko’s pics of Lake Lemuria have been recognized by numerous significant images awards. Credit score: Yevhen Samuchenko

“White Vehicle & Two Folks” has due to the fact been shortlisted for the prestigious Earth Picture 2022 competitors, while the photographer’s wider series on Lake Lemuria, titled “At the Pink Planet,” has been regarded by Sony Globe Photography Awards and Travel Photographer of the Year competitions.

‘My frontline’

Samuchenko lately donated his drone to the Ukrainian armed service, and he says it is at present difficult for him to run as a photographer. But in a conflict that may perhaps hinge on the support of sympathetic allies, he hopes his work can still contribute to the war work by pleasing to hearts and minds. “It can be my frontline,” he claimed.

In excess of the summer season, Samuchenko printed a e book that includes pretty much 150 of his pictures, which include many from locations devastated by conflict, this kind of as Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr Oblasts. “The Magnificence of Ukraine,” which was shot more than the system of two a long time, acts as a survey of the country’s vast and diversified geography, spanning both of those natural and person-designed landscapes.

Like his photos of Lake Lemuria, the painterly images reveal hidden symmetries, designs and designs. Canyons, riverbeds, forests and farmland burst with colour and acquire on a surreal new natural beauty when seen from earlier mentioned.

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

Samuchenko’s new reserve displays Ukraine’s wide and diverse landscapes. Credit score: Yevhen Samuchenko

Samuchenko’s book was by now in generation when the war commenced. Some of the spots depicted have given that been damaged, in accordance to writer Lucia Bondar, who wrote the accompanying textual content.

“Even character has experienced mainly because of this terrible war,” she reported, adding: “It is really really important to display the planet now the other aspect of Ukraine. Every single working day, the whole earth sees these remarkable images on their screens, in genuine time. They see this discomfort and these tears… In our guide they can see the other aspect of Ukraine — of our people, of our lives and of pure beauty.”

The Beauty of Ukraine: Landscape Images,” published by teNeues, is readily available now.