Some capture key events in modern history that will shape our future, others work with the world’s most famous celebrities and contribute to contemporary visual culture. All of this is about Ukrainian photographers whose messages and unique visions fascinate and make you think.

We have put together stories about ten photographers from Ukraine, whose talent is appreciated both at home and abroad. Get acquainted with the creative works of people who shape Ukrainian photography on an international level.

1. Alexander Ladanivskyy

Alexander Ladanivskyy is a well-known travel photographer and blogger who cooperates with Discovery and has over 200K followers on Instagram. The author’s biography is quite impressive: he holds a degree in law and is a former special operations soldier who left the military service for creative work. At first, he shot weddings and worked in the steampunk genre, but later engaged in organizing trips to exotic parts of the world: Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands in particular. Alexander shares fascinating photo reports from his travels on his social media. Although he says he’s more of a traveler than a photographer, it is his spectacular travel photos that garnered an audience. The author’s shots collect thousands of likes and reposts, even among top celebrities: Leonardo DiCaprio shared a picture of the ice cave shot by Ladanivskyy in Iceland. Other achievements of the photographer include the first wedding shoot above the Arctic Circle on the Lofoten Islands.

Фото весілля на Лофотенських островах Олександр Ладанівський

2. Evgeny Maloletka

Evgeny Maloletka is a Ukrainian photojournalist, whose photos have been published in leading publications such as Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, The Independent, El Pais, The Guardian, and The Telegraph. He covered some of the most important events in Ukraine, from the Revolution of Dignity to the COVID-19 pandemic. He became widely known for his photo reports about the russian invasion of Ukraine. Evgeny’s pictures for the Associated Press featuring the blockade of Mariupol and the shelling of a maternity hospital captured headlines. The latter brought him (as well as Mstyslav Chernov and Vasylisa Stepanenko) the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award. According to the organizers, the trio of Ukrainian photographers provided stark and disturbing visual evidence of the devastation and human suffering that the Kremlin sought to deny. Pictures of the bomb-destroyed maternity hospital shocked the whole civilized world and became one of the symbols of this war.

3. Mstyslav Chernov

Mstyslav Chernov is an Associated Press staff photoreporter, film director, and writer. He started his career in the 2000s with feature photography and documentary photography. Having witnessed the protests in Istanbul in 2013, Mstyslav switched to covering wars and war conflicts. He worked during Euromaidan, as well as in Donbas, with the beginning of russian military aggression in 2014. Chernov was the first to take photos of the shot-down Boeing 777 near Donetsk that brought him the Royal Television Society award (UK). In the following years, as a war correspondent, he documented military conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, and protests in Belarus. For 20 days, starting from the end of February 2022, Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeny Maloletka worked in Mariupol to record shelling, destruction, the work of doctors, and numerous civilian casualties. His photos were published in top international media: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Le Monde, Deutsche Welle, Die Zeit, and others.

4. Sasha Samsonova

Sasha Samsonova got hooked on photography as a teenager. She mastered the art by observing works of recognized masters such as Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon. This most likely influenced her style; elegant and provocative at the same time. As early as 17, Sasha took her first images for the Ukrainian Harper’s Bazaar. In 2013, she moved to New York and began to actively build her career as a fashion photographer and director. A crucial moment for Samsonova was a photo-shoot for Kylie Jenner on her 18th birthday. This was the first of Sasha’s numerous collaborations with the Kardashian family, which helped draw more attention to her personal photography. In 2015, Sasha Samsonova was awarded the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Prize for the best photographer of the season. Today, she has collaborations with a variety of brands and publications, such as Fear of God, Google, Kylie Cosmetics, Revlon, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Elle, as well as music videos for Pink, Ciara, and Gallant.

5. Alexander Chekmenev

Alexander Chekmenev is one of the iconic representatives of contemporary Ukrainian photography. It’s fair to say that he has been in the profession for almost all his life, given that he took an interest in photography since childhood. He started his career in a small photo studio in his native city of Luhansk. In the 90’s, Chekmenev devoted a significant part of his works to depicting life in eastern Ukraine, honestly showing post-Soviet realities. It was a unique insider’s look at the transformation of a large coal region. In 1997, Alexander moved to Kyiv and started working as a photojournalist.In the new millennium, he was awarded the title of Ukrainian Photographer of the Year 2013. He also covered key events of the last decade, including Euromaidan and the Russo-Ukrainian war. Chekmenev’s works were published in the New York Times Lens Blog, Time Magazine, The Guardian, and Vice. Photographs by Chekmenev are kept in many private collections and museums, including Mystetskyi Arsenal (Kyiv), Märkische Museum Witten, and Museum Ludwig (Germany).

6. Marta Syrko

Marta Syrko is a talented photographer and art director from Lviv. She is the author of more than 100 book covers, a brand ambassador of the global online network for photographers 500px, and a representative of BERGNER EUROPE S.L Art Foundation. Marta works in the genres of portrait, art, and fashion photography, creating sensual and delicate shots that often resemble paintings. According to her, it is important to show a hero and a story, not just a picture. She works in her own studio using natural light, water, glass, and mirrors. Syrko’s works were exhibited in Paris, London, Arles, and Linz, as well as on the Frenchman Gallery online platform.

7. Sergey Melnitchenko

Sergey Melnitchenko is a prominent representative of the modern generation of Ukrainian photographers. He is also a founder of the conceptual and art photography platform MYPH. Since his teenage years, he had been dancing and performing abroad, particularly in China. There, Sergey created a number of photo series including “Backstage”, which was awarded the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award (2017). Melnitchenko was awarded the “Photographer of the Year” Prize in Ukraine three times (in 2012, 2013, and 2016), and won many photo awards. Art critics note the author’s mature artistic language and call him one of the few Ukrainian photographers able to show the naked male body honestly. In recent years, Sergey has participated in more than 150 solo and group exhibitions and festivals around the world. His works are kept in private and public collections in the USA, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and other countries.

8. Taras Bychko

Lviv-native Taras Bychko is the co-founder of Ukrainian Street Photography Group, a member of the Little Box Collective international team, and the Fujifilm ambassador in Ukraine. He is known for his street and documentary photos that have won awards from many international contests, including Leica street photo, Miami Street Photo Festival, London Photo Festival, and Documentary Family Awards. Taras’ works are also presented in the “100 Great Street Photographs” (2017) publication. The artist himself characterizes his style as life photography. He captures everything he sees around, tries to show life as it is, and conveys the magic of the moment. All of Bychko’s projects are shot in Ukraine. In 2021, Fujifilm dedicated a video to him as part of their series about photographers from different countries.

 

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9. Synchrodogs

Synchrodogs is a duo of Ukrainian photographers and art directors Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven, who currently live in New York and Los Angeles. They became winners of the “Art photography” award 2011 held by Harpers Bazaar in Ukraine, got First place in the Art Rebels x Canon photo contest in Denmark (2012) and FOAM Construct contest in the Netherlands (2012). They also received many other awards including Feature Shoot and Vogue Italy Best Fine Art Photographer. Synchrodogs took part in numerous exhibitions in the US, France, Japan, Poland, Canada, UK, Ukraine, and other countries. Their works were published in New York Magazine, Dazed and Confused, British Journal of Photography, Vice, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Harper’s Bazaar. According to the creators themselves, they work in the art and fashion sphere, bringing innovation to both of them via a multidisciplinary approach. The distinctive style of Synchrodogs has attracted many top-notch brands, including Burberry, Swarovski, Kenzo, Shiseido, Ruslan Braginskiy, and more.

10. Valentine Bo

Valentine Bo is an architect by education. While studying at Lviv Polytechnics, he became interested in photography. Since 2010, he has been actively participating in Ukrainian and international projects as a professional photographer and photo artist. Valentine is a member of two photo groups; “4in1” (in cooperation with Maria Voynova, Ivan Chernichkin, and Yuriy Salabay) and “Ukrainian Photo Alternative” (UPHA), created to support the development of contemporary Ukrainian photography. He is also one of the co-authors of the “Flow / Потік” photobook. In 2014, he arranged a fashion shoot for VICE magazine in the former residence of the former Ukrainian President Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya. In 2017, Bo took a portrait of director David Lynch with a DIY embryo. The same year, he won the “Photographer of the Year” award in Ukraine. As early as next year, Valentine was named one of the top twenty young photographers in the world according to the rating of Foam publication. Hr also won the Bird in Flight Prize for his project “Your next step would be to do the Transmission” (a photo from this series was acquired by the Photography Museum Amsterdam).

The life paths, artistic visions, and styles of these authors greatly differ. Despite all the differences, they share concepts and stories that engage audiences all over the world. And their awards prove that their photographic art is powerful and mature enough to be presented at an international level.We only covered a few Ukrainian authors whose names are known abroad. Do you have any other examples in mind? Be sure to share them in the comments section.

 

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