Photographer Anna Senik's 'ethno-photography' highlights the rich culture of Ukraine.
The damage inflicted on the cultural heritage of a battle-scarred land is rarely—if ever—counted when quantifying the collateral damage of war. Now, as Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine nears the 70-day mark, photographer Anna Senik is drawing attention to the rich and vibrant heritage of her now war-ravaged nation. Her work, which she describes as "ethno-photography," primarily focuses on portraits of people wearing traditional headwear, jewelry and patterned dresses that showcase Ukraine's visual heritage.
Like many in Ukraine, Senik—who has been a photographer for more than 10 years—currently serves in the Armed Territorial Defense and is defending her country during the Russian invasion. "Last year (or rather even a year and a half) was very happy for me," she shared with My Modern Met. "I focused only on art. There was a lot of inspiration, work, and travel for my team. In 2021, we made 33 series! Looking back, I realize how valuable and wonderful this time was." She is now unsure of when she will be able to return to her true passion for making art.
"In the current conditions, it is impossible," she said. "I evacuated my photo archive to a safe place and dedicated myself to the struggle for the freedom of my country. That was the only possible solution for me. But I really miss the opportunity to take photos. It was the meaning of my life, and I look forward to victory and peace to get it back."
Here are 25 stunning portraits by Senik that celebrate the cultural wealth of Ukraine: