Travel

October 19, 2017

From Towers to Fields of Flowers: Capturing Kiev

"It's a bit like a second ago you were very sad and suddenly you’re laughing"

  • Written by Anastasiia Fedorova

The Ukrainian capital Kiev attracts visitors drawn to its architecture, complex history and thriving party scene. It has a special atmosphere and has been a source of inspiration for emerging photographers, like native-born Vladislav Andrievsky.

Andrievsky has been documenting life in the city’s seemingly unremarkable corners since his mother gave him a camera and a few rolls of film before he went on a summer camp as a kid. Since then, photography has become his “way of exploring the world.” 

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Home to 2.8 million people, Kiev is divided in two by the river Dnieper. The centre of the city is located on the right bank, while the left bank is mainly residential, with the tower block estates typical for Eastern Europe. Andrievsky has always been interested in photographing these areas, knowing that these seemingly imposing neighbourhoods are in fact very homely, and have a unique combination of urban and rural environment.

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“Before this spring I lived in the Troieshchyna neighbourhood on the left bank, and I really liked it”, he says. “I’m very used to tower block estates and I don’t think they’re ugly. There was a field next to my house, and we used to hang out there with friends a lot…I love the atmosphere of Kiev. It’s hard to explain it, but it’s a bit like a second ago you were very sad and suddenly you’re laughing. Or like a person who looks very grim, but actually is very open. I’m trying to capture this mood.”

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One of the main ways the city shape-shifts is through its extreme seasons. Kiev in summer and Kiev in winter are two completely different cities: one a vibrant southern capital, the other a dark, challenging metropolis. Through his photos, Andrievsky studies both of these states and their impact on its inhabitants. “In summer, the city is much more lively. Summer means freedom: everyone is going out to the countryside and to the beach, and for walks in the night and day,” he says.

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“In winter the roads are snowed in, mornings and evenings are very dark, it’s cold and at times sad. Winter is like a long and slow journey. It’s like you’re walking a very long distance, immersed in yourself, reflecting on everything, making plans. Sometimes it’s nice, sometimes it’s dark — but summer will come again.”

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