A group of high school graduates in war-ravaged Ukraine used damaged buildings and destroyed vehicles as a haunting backdrop for their graduation shots.
Photographer Stanislav Senyk, 25, told Reuters he wanted to document the “very important story” of roughly 40 graduating seniors from schools in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine after witnessing the first-hand horrors of the war now in its fourth month.
“And I’m sure it was very important to capture that in the memory,” he said. “And 10-15 years from now, when they have their own children, they can show those pictures to them.”
One chilling photo showed a group of students huddled atop a tank, looking out with stoic faces with graduation sashes across their chests. Another showed a group of girls standing in a blown-out building, with others looking down from decimated floors above.
“Seeing it in person is a special feeling that cannot be described,” Senyk told Reuters. “But I was dominated by a different feeling. I saw the children who were there and it was like some kind of surrealism going on.”
One of the students, Olha Babynets, 17, said she enjoyed the photoshoot, even if it was “very difficult” for everyone involved.
“But we wanted to show that we live in such realities and it is like that for us,” she told Reuters. “No, we wanted to show our pain, which is there and has never subsided. It was difficult emotionally, but we tried to hold on. And I think we managed to do that.”
Some of the students even grabbed spent bullet casings at the scenes, Senyk said.
The photographs will now be compiled into a graduation album for the students. Senyk also wanted to find an exhibition space to showcase them and sell the photos to donate any money raised to Ukrainian troops, Reuters reported.
Each class involved offered up different locations for the photoshoot, Senyk said.
“And that shows that Chernihiv is pretty much ruined throughout,” he told Reuters. “Not a single location was repeated, not once were we in the same place.”
Russia, meanwhile, was continuing its assault Monday on the Donbas region of Ukraine with ongoing artillery and air raids as it tries to take over the nation’s industrial heartland in a campaign that could change the course of the war.
With Post Wires