Photographer Yevhen Samuchenko’s appreciate letter to his Ukrainian homeland

Created by Oscar Holland, CNN

In Snap, we appear at the electric power of a one photograph, chronicling tales about how both equally modern and historical visuals have been built.

In a drone photograph by Yevhen Samuchenko, Lake Lemuria, the so-termed “Dead Sea of Ukraine,” normally takes on a surreal, otherworldly top quality. Its waters turned pink by algae, its shoreline streaked with white salt deposits, the system of drinking water may possibly effortlessly be perplexed for an summary painting ended up it not for the existence of two little figures and their close by auto.

“I required to exhibit the scale of the landscape, because when you see the quite compact people today, you have an understanding of how major the area is,” explained Samuchenko, by means of a translator, on a video clip contact from his home in the Ukrainian city of Odesa. “But I also want the viewer to see themselves as becoming like these people today — to invite them into the image.”

The photographer’s mission to showcase Ukraine’s purely natural natural beauty has taken on new urgency subsequent Russia’s full-scale invasion in February. Considering that Samuchenko captured the image, titled “White Car or truck & Two Folks,” in 2019, the area in which the lake is found, Kherson Oblast, has been partly occupied by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

When Samuchenko frequented, nevertheless, the lake was a tranquil location — just one reachable only through “quite bad streets” and with really minor vacationer infrastructure, he discussed. The figures standing encounter-to-experience in the image are two of Samuchenko’s fellow photographers, though he states the moment shared by his two good friends was spontaneous, not posed.

Samuchenko's photos of Lake Lemuria have been recognized by several major photography awards.

Samuchenko’s pics of Lake Lemuria have been acknowledged by a number of significant pictures awards. Credit rating: Yevhen Samuchenko

“White Auto & Two Men and women” has since been shortlisted for the prestigious Earth Photo 2022 competition, while the photographer’s wider sequence on Lake Lemuria, titled “At the Pink Planet,” has been recognized by Sony Globe Pictures Awards and Vacation Photographer of the Year competitions.

‘My frontline’

Samuchenko not long ago donated his drone to the Ukrainian armed forces, and he claims it is at present unachievable for him to function as a photographer. But in a conflict that may hinge on the assist of sympathetic allies, he hopes his work can still add to the war exertion by interesting to hearts and minds. “It truly is my frontline,” he stated.

In excess of the summer time, Samuchenko posted a e-book that includes virtually 150 of his shots, which includes lots of from locations devastated by conflict, these as Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr Oblasts. “The Splendor of Ukraine,” which was shot over the system of two years, acts as a study of the country’s extensive and diversified geography, spanning the two organic and man-produced landscapes.

Like his illustrations or photos of Lake Lemuria, the painterly pics expose concealed symmetries, patterns and designs. Canyons, riverbeds, forests and farmland burst with shade and take on a surreal new elegance when considered from higher than.

Samuchenko's new book shows Ukraine's vast and varied landscapes.

Samuchenko’s new e-book displays Ukraine’s wide and assorted landscapes. Credit score: Yevhen Samuchenko

Samuchenko’s ebook was previously in production when the war commenced. Some of the places depicted have due to the fact been broken, according to writer Lucia Bondar, who wrote the accompanying text.

“Even character has suffered since of this awful war,” she claimed, including: “It really is extremely essential to exhibit the planet now the other aspect of Ukraine. Each individual working day, the entire earth sees these extraordinary photographs on their screens, in actual time. They see this soreness and these tears… In our guide they can see the other aspect of Ukraine — of our men and women, of our lives and of pure natural beauty.”

The Attractiveness of Ukraine: Landscape Photography,” printed by teNeues, is available now.