sábado, abril 13

the Elysée affirms that France’s support for kyiv will “not weaken”

Lucas Barioulet: “Everything is increased tenfold on the pitch, starting with the emotions”

I take this photo in April 2022, two months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, in Borodyanka. This town north of kyiv, occupied by Russian soldiers for almost a month, is 90% destroyed, and the army has committed abuses against civilians.

When I arrive at Borodianka, I am struck by the desolation and silence that reigns. I see a woman walking in front of the ruins of a building, her lessons in her arms. She speaks to me in Russian, I understand a few words: in a state of shock, she is looking for her way, lost in her own city, devastated by the fighting.

Everything has to be rebuilt. But, in the absurdity of war, life goes on, this reality to which certain civilians, who are the first victims of war, cling as best they can. Children, elderly people… These vulnerable people remain difficult and delicate to photograph; you often have to find the right distance and think about what you are showing. And sometimes, knowing not to make an image.

I work in Borodyanka with Andreï, a young fixer from eastern Ukraine. His role is essential: he helps me get around, translate, create contact with the people there. He knows certain regions by heart having grown up there. During the journey, from Vinnytsia, a western town then spared from the fighting, we chat, joke, listen to music. But when we arrive at the first destroyed towns, his face closes. He turned off the music.

We listen in silence to the chilling testimonies of the residents. Gradually, it’s no longer me who asks him to stop and talk to people. He goes to the charred buildings and houses, asking what he can do to help them. It’s his country, his people, and all of that impacts him differently from us.

This is my second visit to Ukraine. At 25 years old, this is the first time I have covered a high-intensity conflict like this. This leads me to think about our profession, our commitment. Everything is heightened on the pitch, starting with emotions.

It is also a real information war that is being played out on site, between the two camps. Even as information is diverted, transformed, instrumentalized, showing the reality of war becomes essential.

Read other testimonials from our photographers here.