Photography, writing and word of mouth have the potential to spread a powerful message for the rest of the world. One ambitious project that is living up to its potential is project Ukraїner. It was originally started by Bogdan Logvinenko and the scale and impact it is yet to be determined. One thing is for sure, the untold stories of remote parts of Ukraine are ready to be heard.

Bogdan Logvinenko launched a media project about his long-term expeditions around Ukraine. Together with a photo journalist and a camera operator, he travels by car to historic locations around Ukraine, intentionally avoiding common tourist routes to unveil unusual places and atypical local heroes. The purpose of the project, according to the creator is “(with thorough research) to understand and articulate who we are”.

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

From the very beginning, Ukraїner attracted several commercial sponsors, including Depositphotos. We find out more from Bogdan Logvinenko (on the right) about the intriguing parts of his project and how within a few months he managed to create a multimedia project that is worthy of global recognition.

The purpose of the project

“It’s hard to describe it briefly. First of all, it is the popularization of Ukraine abroad, and the popularization of travels as they are.

To add to the point, it’s a way of uniting people that are creating something in their regions. We can shed light on their process and the success of their work; show an example for others and get them to  know each other. “

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

Spreading the word

“After our story about a young German, Michel, that bred Carpathian buffaloes in the mountains and recreated an ancient tradition, he got lots of letters from volunteers that even visited him after we left. The cover of his story gave him the opportunity to find many more people that supported him and what he was doing. Thanks to this, he raised money for the winter and currently, some of his buffaloes moved to a reserve in the Odessa region where they can live in wilderness.”

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

How it all started

“Before the launch of Ukraїner, I made two test expeditions. I found a car, made my way to Zakarpattia region and then to Podneprovie. I gathered a small team that traveled with me. I wrote my stories, someone took pictures, someone made videos. At the end of these test expeditions, the video didn’t work out as we didn’t have a good camera operator or a film editor.

This was just a preliminary trip. When I came to Zakarpattia, a few people wrote about Michel, the German that bred buffaloes. I read it, found his website and understood that this would be an amazing story. I simply had to go!

Our process is quite simple. Before each trip, we create a media occasion: an announcement that we’re going to an expedition. We post a map where we indicate the key places that we’re visiting and leave a form that anyone can fill out and suggest some place.

Before the expedition to the Zakarpattia, about 50 people filled out the form. We were able to visit about a tenth of the recommended people and places.“

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

To see the full cover of the story, watch the video report of Bogdan’s team visiting Michel:

*To turn on English subtitles, click the ‘CC’ icon at the bottom of the screen or go to ‘Settings’, ‘Subtitles’. 

The role of sponsors and crowdfunding

“I was always afraid of grant stories and crowd funding. The later, because we had a very uncertain, indistinct border between the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’. Everything was split into black and white. When we write out our idea, we describe the project and it’s beautiful words but no one (aside from us) sees what the end result of the project will be. When someone supports us with money, they express their involvement in the project. We mainly show our idea and the goal but the realization of it can come out to be a little different.

Our involvement with sponsors was a principal stand. We wanted to prove that we can take the money from big and serious partners (such as KiyAvia, Land Rover and OKKO) and still we won’t be dependent on them to the point where every episode contains shots of the car or gas stations.

Every one of our partners became a part of our team. We just got extremely lucky to be partners with the most famous Ukrainian startup – Depositphotos.

For us, it’s really important to be independent. We have created a unique product, that attracts serious clients but we can’t allow them to invade our content.”

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

Instant popularity

When Bogdan launched a Facebook page and made a post, he received 10000 followers in 30 days. Here’s his little insight into the miracle:

“We spent 5 and 10 dollars to promote it. In other words, even if we did invest, we put in a dollar each from our team. When we saw the response, we understood that we’ve hit a topic that people have long been waiting for. Our partners were also pleasantly surprised and really glad. We didn’t plan for this result.”

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

The big mission and a heartfelt story

“One of our missions is to show a critical number of Ukrainians what we have to offer. It’s not necessarily some tourist attraction in the same representation that we know from back in the day. A tourist attraction is almost always some luxurious hotel with a beach. We have to show the locals that they live near something outstanding.”

Discovering Remote Parts of Ukraine with Project Ukraїner

Image credit: Ukrainer.net

“We’re looking for stories that inspire. They’re not always positive. A recent example is a story about Iakov, the lighthouse keeper in Berdyansk. His boss came to let us see the lighthouse and told us that Iakov won’t be going up with us to the light source due to his health. This is when Iakov showed us a photo that he was very proud of. It was made by a really great Soviet photographer that showed Iakov at the top of the lighthouse taking out the light element. We said that we really wanted to take the same photograph to show the difference – Iakov 49 years ago and now. They didn’t want to let us take photographs at the top. We were so persistent with the boss that we convinced him to call ‘the boss of the boss’ who finally allowed us to shoot.

While talk with ‘the boss of the boss’ was happening, we asked Iakov to come up with us to take a similar photograph. It was really difficult for him to walk up the stairs but we saw that he also really wanted to make it. He had a terrible breathing rhythm, he had such a hard time but finally he did it! Possibly, for the last time. That’s when we saw that he was crying and wiping away tears.”

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