Dispatch from Ukraine – Ron Haviv

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Photo by Ron Haviv / VII. People continue to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 28, 2022, by train in an attempt to get to safety.

I'm currently in Kyiv covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its violent consequences, and wanted to share with you my thoughts on what I am seeing and what I hope the work of photographers here can do.

My idea when I'm working is that I am very much interested in the news of the day but finding photographs that will kind of go beyond the one day news cycle, or the one hour news cycle. But at the same time, I think it's important to pay attention to what's happening. I did come with the belief or desire that I was not going to make photograph of guys with guns. It's always I think, more important to understand the impact of what's happening when guys with guns are shooting. 

The question is always do you think that photography does anything? Is it worth it? What's the point of it? I think these are always good questions. I think that for myself, at least the hope is, and the realistic hope is that no, photography is not going to stop a war. Photography cannot do that on its own.

But it can play a role and an important role in the ability to transmit information for people to know what's happening. I think that there are times where versus television photography can do a much better job. I think all journalism has this idea of trying to inform people so they can make better decisions. So things aren't happening in the dark. I think that's always incredibly important.

Whatever we're doing, my colleagues and I are creating this historical record that will hold people accountable for their action and their inaction. And if we document war crimes, and so on, this will be creating a level of evidence that will help indict people for the crimes that they're doing. And I think photography has quite often proven that ability to do so.

I hope you will find these reflections interesting.

Ron Haviv
Photo by Ron Haviv / VII. Volunteer fighters, part of the Territorial Defense and supported by the Swoboda party, prepare to go to the frontline in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 28, 2022.