The world-renowned organization presented the works of young amateur photographers made in NatGeo photo camps, held around the world, at the Kennedy Center (Washington, USA). Among the exhibits are four photographs taken in Kharkiv (Ukraine) during a photo camp organised together with the Institute for Regional Media and Information. The authors of the selected photos are Olena Bilous, Rodion Uzbek, Anastasiia Turpetko and Anton Aleksakha.
In Kharkiv, since the beginning of the occupation of the Crimea and the war in Donbass, the city has become a pivotal gate for IDPs to the peaceful territory, around 20 participants aged between 17 and 30, who moved to different cities of Ukraine from the Crimea and Donbass, worked for a week together with experienced professionals in places where people who fled the war were accommodated. Camera lenses watched adults and children overcome difficulties and problems to let the community see the terrible consequences of social and military conflicts that suddenly ruin plans and hopes, retelling the stories of those who found the strength to start everything from scratch.
When the joint work was over, the jury selected the best works for the touring exhibition, which travelled to Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Slavyansk, Siverodonetsk and Lviv. The exhibition became a vivid peace protection appeal, seen by thousands of Ukrainians.
There were works by Olena Bilous.
“NatGeo photo camp was a twist in my life,” she says. – It added to my confidence and expanded my opportunities. I moved to the capital and began my life “from a blank sheet.” I am now doing photography for a living. I keep photofacts for history, draw people’s attention to pressing issues, working with CSOs. Photo is a powerful tool. And I very much hope that my work, presented at an exhibition in Washington, will help people sense Ukraine, learn more about us and the war in Donbass. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to tell the world what is happening on my land.”
The National Geographic photo camp took place in Kharkiv from 5th July to 10th July 2015.The photo exhibition and photo gallery were made possible thanks to the support of USAID’s Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative and due to the efforts of project partners: the Institute of Regional Media and Information (Kharkiv) and the Vision Workshops (USA).