The few restaurants and clubs present in the city, look very much folkloristic and singular. Restaurants and cafès are decorate with the typical wallpapers, night clubs are lightened in the strangest tonalities.
The town of Semenivka few kms away from the bigger city Slovyansk, theatre of one of the most violent fight in 2014, has been victim of the tragic consequences of the war in fact, the town was completely destroyed after the fight of 2014. Families live in houses without roof and they get warm making the fire, most of them don’t have electricity and water since nearly two years.
Kostantinovka is under the Ukrainian control and life proceed almost as it was before the war, but people have to cohabit and coexist with the presence of soldiers, tanks, and artillery of any kinds in their dailylife. Here an Ukrainian soldier walking towards me and lightened by the golden hour.
In the month of October, Donbass is already very cold and rainy, when you enter cafes the lens of the camera steam up and give the same sense of anguish and depression that you feel out in the streets. The photo has taken in the only cafe that there is in the town of Semenivka.
Wheat fields are the symbol of the country, and color of its flag, here a car crossing my frame while the driver open unexplainably the door of his car.
In the districts of Toretsk there is a big gipsy community, most of them are born and raised in Ukraine, moving from one place to another but they consider themselves gipsy. They don’t send children to school, but they rather have an internal education system. They are usually numerous families composed by 8 to 10 people. This is the portait of Angelica’s children in front of their house.
Coal mine in the gipsy district of Toretsk. Coal and metallurgical mines are very frequent in Donbass, these have been target of the Russian troops during this conflict to block the Ukrainian economy. Mines are also reason of an intense and annoying pollution all over the region. Toretsk is only few kms from the front line, here you can hear the shelling, especially at night.
The city of Kostantinovka was in 2014 one of the hottest place where the conflict between Russia and Ukraine took place, many Ukrainian civils were imprisoned, by the Russian army in the basements of the city. Although the cold has already arrived and the temperatures dropped in the whole country, people still prefer hanging out the laundry, in the backyard or in the streets, here is a common customs.
Young people in Ukraine are extremely passionated of cars, they transform, adjust and change them and they usually put a big stereo that can produce loud music. In this parking in Kramatorsk the youngest meet and stay inside their cars at friday night listening music for hours and reparing from the cold. These two pretty girls are with their friends insiede the an old and beautiful Sovietic car.
It is a rarity to see young guys in Donbass, the luckiest have moved to the major cities of the country, as Kiev or Lviv in the western side. Two guys drinking teà in a cold day of the end of October.
Probably the first thing you will notice arriving in Donbass is the gas pipe lines passing everywhere,in the streets, above houses and schools they are totally exposed to open air and people walk under them. What is already an erroneus power source system, became even more dangerous in a conflict contest where shelling and bombs are part of the daily life of these villagese at couple of km’s to the front line.
The city of Kramatorsk has become one of the main economy centres after the collapse of Donetsk, now controlled and taken by the Russian army. The scene, portraits three Ukrainian people waiting in a market parking. Cars, architecture and fashion here in Ukraine are still very much tightened to the Soviet period.
In villages like this, there is shortage of basic necessities such as drinking water and food. This old lady is holding two bags of bread given by the ICRC service.
Ukraine it is use and custom to make home made wine, you can easily find it in every house and they cover it with plastic gloves.
A day with the ICRC service gives you the chance to see a small reality but not less important, the villages that surround Donetsk, places very close to the front line where the shelling is routine and people do not have access to electricity and water, reason why the ICRC service provide them water jars every week and bread.
Dignity is what people from Donbass care most, they want to be seen and photographed in good clothes, they don’t want the world to see them as victims and most of the time I was about to take a photograph to someone they used to ask me if they could go and change to better clothes.
This is Alina’s studio, her place was destroyed and she now lives where before she use to work on her flower’s creations. She is an old widow lady and she is very much religious. She told me
People who still live in Semenivka, those who still believe to re-build a life in what was their village before, live in degrading conditions, without water and electricity as in the case of this man of 65 years old who live with his sick son.
Photographing soldiers or any kind of military subject, has become extremely difficult in Donbass, the main reason of it is the fear of misleading media informations. In the streets of Semenivka its common to see soldiers and tank and during lunch time they rest in their vehicles in front of the only cafe in town.
Night life of people in Donbass is pretty simple, they like drinking vodka in pubs or outside in car parkings or public parks with loud music playing. Night life in Kramatorsk is a bit more animated, then in the rest of Donbass, the region is absolutely depressed and life for young people has become boring. Here three guys entering the only shop open at night to buy drinks before dancing.
Youngest in Ukraine are the most shocked by this war, they are not use as their parents are, elder generations are used to live in such difficult moments. In fact, they told me that for them is just another hard moments as many, they had during the Soviet Union. Here two young guys hugging each other in the suburb of the city, a moment of love in a tragedy contest.
Swallow nests are common in Donbass almost as Soviet cars, everything looks fixed in time back in the Soviet era. Here two boys outside their yellow car in the streets of Semenivka.
One of the most surprising and remarkable thigs that you might notice when you are close to the front line, is that life goes normally as in any other places, close or far from the shelling. Kids play, people go shopping or talk in the streets as nothing is happening around them. Here two little girls chatting on a cement staircase, a dog close to them.
In this period of the year soldiers that have been in service in camps, check points, or in the field, give the change to other soldiers and they go back home, One of the three soldier sit on the bench is reading probably a letter close to them two other soldiers and a tired old lady.
In villages like Vodyane people struggle to life everyday, they have to keep up and try to think as less as possible, they work in the field and they try to re-build their houses. They smoke a lot a drink homemade wine. These people look much older that they are, life has been difficult with them and the signs of it are visible on their faces.
People in villages, burn rubbish and weeds outside creating these smokes everywhere.