"Life Goes On" by Jan Jurczak #swu
‘Death, as with love, is where I draw the line on documentation. It is too deep within the realm of human privacy for me to photograph it’. Jan Jurczak
Since 2014, the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, the most far eastern regions of Ukraine, have become a zone of armed conflict. What was presented at the beginning as an internal conflict within the country, soon became known to have Russian military presence involved in it. Since then, the war is ongoing, and despite the involvement of international diplomacy, it is not clear what and how long it would take for the region to see peace again. What is less covered by Western media are the lives of ordinary people in the area who had to adapt to and accept the circumstances of constant war around them. Since the conflict started, Jan Jurczak, a 23-year old photographer from Poland, spent two years on and off in Avdiivka, a village located at the frontline of the conflict in the Donetsk region, living with the locals and documenting their lives.
Life Goes On, an exploration of daily life in the conflict zone, is a photobook in the form of a newspaper. It consists of a series of photographs and statements about the love and death of people living in the conflict zone.
All proceeds from the sale of this book and all other books in our shop marked with #SWU go towards the Research Grant Program for Ukrainian Photographers. See progress here.
The book is financed by Foundation for Visual Arts and PIX.HOUSE Gallery
Size: 48 x 34 x (2) cm
The photographs in Life Goes On were taken in Donetsk Oblast, Eastern Ukraine, in towns mere kilometers from the front lines. Jan Jurczak grew particularly attached to one resilient community of locals in Avdiivka, a suburb of the city of Donetsk, to which he paid frequent visits. It was Elena who rented an entire floor of flats, making rooms available to those who were homeless. Residents fixed up a space for dance lessons and other activities. Irina, a makeup artist, whose son was killed by shelling, lives on the floor. Next to her reside Tanya and Tanya’s young daughter, Kristina. Irina, Tanya, and Kristina have no homes of their own. To the right of Irina’s room is a larger room, which Elena converted into a makeshift Protestant church, containing a handful of chairs, an old TV, and a standing cross. Here, two realities overlap. Life and war, love and death. The media has little airtime left for the conflict in Ukraine. And it has even less for stories about life during wartime. The war in Ukraine has been raging since 2014.
Monika Szewczyk-Wittek | photo editor, curator, and author of texts on photography