I grew up in a big city, and perhaps that was the reason why I was always intrigued by small community life in the country. A certain Boiko village in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains became the place where my ideas about idyllic rural life materialised. What I looked for were the ambience and motifs that reminded me of the fairy tales that I had heard as a child, growing up in neighbouring Poland, within whose borders the village I photographed had been located before the war.
Feature / U / Boikos by Jan Brykczynski
U (2008-2009) Of all the former republics of the USSR, Ukraine is one of the most important. With a population of 47 million and a territory as large as France, this EU neighbor is crucial for both Russia and the West. In addition to its natural resources, heavy industries and access to the Black Sea, Ukraine is a major transit country for Russia’s oil and gas. As witnessed last winter, events in the Ukraine have a direct impact on the stability and security of two continents. Although it has been independent since 1991, this emerging democracy has yet to form its national identity. Like many post-Soviet states, it is in the throes of an identity crisis. To gain a better understanding of Ukraine and what it means to be Ukrainian, the non-profit organization Altemus commissioned the photographers of Sputnik Photos to travel to the country and capture its ethos. To deepen this process of discovery, it also asked Ukraine’s most talented young writers to write a short essay or story on the theme of identity. Project Manager: Christine Medycky (Altemus) Photo Editor: Maria Mann (European Press Photo Agency) Curator: Rafał Milach Book design: Ania Nalecka / Tapir Book Design