For the past thirty years, Ukraine has been in the process of forming and strengthening Ukrainian identity after a long period of occupation and the existence of the Soviet Union. This is not only a socio-political process, but also a process of restoration of cultural identity. Since the 2000s, an interest in the publication of art books has been developing. The biggest wave of creating photobooks begins after 2013. This is also due to the small number of exhibition venues and the lack of specialized events where photography can be presented and/or sold. The book becomes a material embodiment of visual stories, an archive of the author’s reflections and a mobile project for presentation on an international platform.
The next wave of author’s art book publishing in Ukraine was provoked by the global pandemic and lockdown, which stopped the work
of art centers and museums and consequently led to the creation of an alternative space for the demonstration of photo series.
The exposition is an analysis of photobooks in Ukraine and demonstrates how private initiatives form an alternative market and platform for communication. It also visualizes how self-publishing can become a powerful reflection on contemporary events and a project of archiving social changes documented through photography.
Kateryna Radchenko, Ukrainian curator and director of Odesa Photo Days Festival works directly with photographers at the frontlines. Currently, Kateryna is collecting and curating photos from the war zone to produce international publications, exhibitions, events and create opportunities for people around the world to experience these visual stories and narratives at first hand. Throughout the heated days of war, Kateryna and her team worked as an aid for international media outlets in Odesa and Lviv, supporting photographers who were stuck, in danger or visited the frontlines as independent artists.
Header: “Lviv – God’s Will” by Viacheslav Poliakov
1: “Banner Books” by Sasha Kurmaz
2: “My Dear Vira” by Maryna Brodovska
3: “Kochetov” by Victor and Serhiy Kochetov
4: “Licking War Wounds” by Lia Dostlieva and Andrei Dostliev
5: “The Album of the Discharged Soldier” by Sergey Kamennoy
6: “Lilies” by Olexandr Chekmenev
7: “Schwarzenegger is my idol” by Serhiy Melnytchenko