“Ukraine is a marker in my photographic journey. Through this country, I went from classical black and white photojournalism to documentary photography that relates the invisible drama of a nuclear disaster. In 2001, from the very first moments I felt connected to this territory. The colors reminded me of my childhood. The people accepted me in their daily life. I discovered the contaminated forbidden zone. A parallel world, a different relationship to reality, a questioning of how to photograph the traces of history.
Since then I go every year to this country. 2004, the Orange revolution and the Donbass. Then, the return of the Cossacks, symbols of a Ukrainian identity. 2008, Crimea and its inter-community tensions. Series of reports, like a puzzle that prepared me to follow the Maïdan revolution and the war. The history of this country has allowed me to explore different narratives, to break reference points to finally put myself in the news and reflect on photojournalism today. Like the leopard-spotted contamination of Chernobyl, Ukraine is currently divided into different areas: contaminated areas, war zones, peace zones as a mirror of the future of our societies. A reason that pushes me to continue.
– Guillaume Herbaut