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Ukrainian Territories, Lost in Time

Since 2014 Rafael Yaghozbadeh kept following the conflict in Ukraine, beyond the front line.

In Rafael Yaghozbadeh’s recent book Territory, Othodox Easter celebrations or a beauty contest look as haunting as snipers hidden behind a private house’s wall. The photographs give the feeling that daily life in Ukraine’s contested regions became over time so deeply intertwined with war to be one with it. Turned into negatives, they reduce human beings to targets and the space to a pattern of light and shapes.

A couple dances during the Miss LNR beauty contest in the cultural center of the city of Luhansk, Luhansk People's Republic (LNR). May 20, 2015.

A priest before Orthodox Epiphany celebrations on the outskirts of Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine. January 19, 2017.

A flock of birds near the front line, towards Bakhmut, western Ukraine. February 26, 2015.

The statue of Lenin in the city center of Svatove, eastern Ukraine. The statue was debunked by Ukrainians of the Leninopad movement a few months after this photograph was taken. May 24, 2014.

The French photographer, currently covering the unfolding situation in Ukraine, worked for years on the territory, focusing on the socio-political implication of the conflict. Confident playing with different languages, for this body of work he distances himself from photojournalism, towards abstraction. The images convey the two dimensional effect of an x-ray and seem to never speak at the present tense, getting lost in the time of an ongoing conflict, until recently forgotten.

Pro-Russian volunteer soldiers outside the fortified residence of oligarch Rinat Akhmetov in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. May 25, 2014.

A resident of the village of Jovenka returns home. The village is divided in two by the contact line. April 5, 2017.

Residents celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany on the frozen lake in the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka. January 19, 2017.

Meltinvest is the largest coke plant in Ukraine. It produces 5,500 to 8,500 tons of coke (distilled coal) per day in the outskirts of Avdiivka, a few kilometers from the front line. January 18, 2017.

The funeral of Vladim Khou, victim of a shooting during the unrest related to the 2014 self-determination referendum in the Donbass region. He was one of the first civilian victims of the conflict. May 13, 2014.

A pro-Russian volunteer soldier in his sniper camouflage at a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. May 16, 2014.

Houses destroyed by Ukrainian shelling in the village of Nikishino, in the Donetsk Popular Republic (DNR). May 15, 2015.

A pro-Russian soldier under the rain at a checkpoint on the road to Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine. May 31, 2014.

Shelling impacts on the House of Culture in the town of Shchastya, fews kilometres from the front line. In Russian ‘shchastya' means happy. January 29, 2017

Rafael Yaghozbadeh’s book Territory, published by Editions Nuit Noire, is available in an edition of 400 copies for the price of 35€. For more information visit the
site of the publisher.

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