Justyna Mielnikiewicz is an award winning photographer from Poland, based in Tbilisi , Georgia since 2003. Her works have been published internationally by The New York Times, Newsweek ,Le Monde , Stern, National Geographic among others. Most important part of her work is devoted to personal , long term projects published as books. She teaches photography workshops and lectures on photography as well as the topic she specializes at which deals with different aspects of transformations in countries of Central Europe and Post Soviet Space , in particular Caucasus and Ukraine.
Anna used to be tourism manager and in July 2014 quit her career and devoted herself completely to help wounded soldiers in Kiev Military Hospital. Each day she volonteered in the hospital helping to take care of the soldiers, providing them with necessities ranging from cigarettes to the wheel chairs. On the photo taken during our interview we stand in the hospitals back stairs. She cried after talking on the phone with her soldier friends trying to break away from rebel encirclement during the fight for Debalcevo in February 2015 .The information she got was that out of 150 man half died there. Later the number turned to be smaller. Anna explains that people ask her where she get all her strength. In 2016 Anna again started working with tourism but continues to help the soldiers.
Ukraine runs through it
Dmitri Rabczun on his horse Sultan doing his training on special style of horse riding,traditionally performed by Cossacks. Dmitri is from Lviv and study in Crimean Cossack Cadet School in Crimea. I understood that I have that inclination towards horses and I wanted to go study at the Cossack Cadet Schoo"Dzhigitis is a word of Turkic origin which is used in the Caucasus to describe a skillful and brave equestrian a brave person in general.The derived term dzhigitovka (or dzhigiting) means the special style of trick riding, which originated in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and is also popular with Russian Cossacks, who adopted it from the people of Caucasus.
In photographer Justyna Mielnikiewicz’s long-term documentation, Ukraine runs through it, she originally thought to document the country away from daily politics with the Dnipro River as the metaphorical line of reference. When Mielnikiewicz started photographing in the spring of 2014, she had to adjust that concept. Witnessing the immediate and profound impact the revolution and the war had on people’s daily lives became an important element of her work, an inherent undercurrent in the river-themed project. The photographs thus cover a time that started at the end of the Revolution of Dignity, which the photographer describes as one of the most compelling periods in the history of modern Ukraine. Few events since the fall of Communism in the post-Soviet space have had such acute international ramifications involving both western Europe and the United States. What began as a protest against a corrupt government led to a new leadership but also war with Russia resulting in a massive transformation of society. The portraits of people and collected stories are the record of a few individual experiences set on the background of central issues driving the transformation of the country and society.