Sonia Costa

Documentary Street Photographer
 
Kyiv, before the last war
Location: Paris
Nationality: Italian
Biography: Geographer and free-lance photographer, she has been travelling the world for years studying the interrelationship between people and environment, promoting a sustainable tourism and taking street and documentary photographs. Her essential subject... MORE
Public Story
Kyiv, before the last war
Copyright Sonia Costa 2022
Date of Work Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
Updated May 2022
Location Kyiv, Ukraine
Topics Documentary, Editorial, International Stories, Kyiv, Photography, Photojournalism, Reportage, Ukraine, War
In 2019 I traveled to Ukraine to shoot everyday life in Kyiv. I arrived in the city during the winter holidays. Wandering the streets, I felt like I was in Budapest, Warsaw or Vilnius, among the German Christmas fairs. The stalls in Podil district displaying objects from a distant time, brought me back to St. Charles Bridge in Prague many years ago. The golden domes of the Orthodox Churches soared over the city like flashes of light, inside, men and women of all ages gathered to pray in respectful silence.
The gray sky, the icy snow, along the clean streets lined with eighteenth-nineteenth-century buildings and structures dating back to the Soviet-era, the city was quiet. Except for the Christmas fairs, there weren’t many people around, the temperature was constantly below 0 degrees Celsius and life flowed underground among shops, trendy restaurants and the subway.
Maryska, the young man who was my guide for the first day, proudly told me: “First of all I would like to start by showing you the photographs of the martyrs who fought for our country during 2014 Euromaidan revolution… Later we can go down in the subway, the stations were built in the 60s as real bunkers, old legacies from Soviet Union…“ he added with a half smile.
Now, after the recent attack by the Russian army, I look back on Ukraine’s troubled history. I remember that I wished to continue my trip to Odessa. I wanted to discover that city so young and completely projected towards the future, to understand those strong and proud people better, their cautious and disenchanted kindness, a light of slight distrust in their eyes.   
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