In the weeks after the invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv, the capital, became a city transformed. Much of its population evacuated. New defense units gathered and took up arms. Field kitchens, aid stations, bomb shelters and evacuation convoys sprouted into functional shapes. The city endured intermittent bombardment throughout. This altered streetscape became the uneasy milieu of Aleksandr Chekmenev, a Ukrainian documentary and portrait photographer who since the 1990s has visually chronicled his country’s post-Soviet life. Chekmenev stayed in Kyiv during the war, venturing out on assignment for The New York Times Magazine to find those who stayed put. Carrying a medium-format Pentax camera, he met some people and approached others as they walked the streets, labored in their new roles or huddled in shelters. Chekmenev made portraits of the citizens of Kyiv, capturing fortitude, desperation and resolve in a city under attack.
This fellowship is financed under the IWM's Documenting Ukraine program.