A Weapon Of Peace
Photographer Mark Neville’s anti-war book on Ukraine turns documentary work into activism
There’s a sly psychological mechanism that war images, however fundamental, trigger in the viewers. We’re shocked, informed, guilty, then we get used to them, and we often start seeing people in those images as different than us, to save ourselves. War reporting is essential, but it’s not enough. Photographer Mark Neville pushes another button. We care about people’s pain if we’ve known them as we know ourselves, through the bizarre, joyful, idiosyncratic moments of daily life.
In 2015 Mark Neville started piecing together an image of Ukrainian society through photos. In 2020 he moved to Kyiv. A few days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, he released his anti-war book Stop Tanks With Books, turning his work into an activist tool. The photographer printed 750 complimentary copies to send to politicians, the media and influential personalities all over the world, hoping it can support Ukraine’s case as it asks for a clear path towards EU and NATO, and find a way out of Putin’s war.