Sep 20, 2023

Escaping War

Photojournalist Michael Nigro recounts the stories of two Ukranian families impacted by the war. One family fled to Poland, the other stayed.

Igor and Eugenia Mazur were two of the first parents I met in Ukraine on the eve of the war in February 2022. The young couple lived in a two-bedroom flat with their five children — all under eight: Ksenia, Lera, Alyona, Andriy, and Anton — in the town of Hirnyk, in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast. On the surface, they maintained a normal family life: mom and dad multitasking, kids laughing and crying, sticky hands, energetic innocence and general chaos. But even as Igor and Eugenia focused on the day-to-day, Russia was mobilizing forces on the nearby border. Work had all but stopped for Igor, but they had no plans or means to leave. The growing threat of war roiled daily life just beneath the surface.

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Aug 20, 2023

No One Knows What To Expect in a War Zone

Photojournalist Michael Nigro reflects on his travels through Ukraine while documenting the supply chain to volunteers that begins here in the United States. A headless statue of the famed Russian writer Maxim Gorky seen near the city center of Chasiv Yar. Image: Michael Nigro

War, by its very nature, breaks things. Cities, highways, societies, hearts, limbs and lives.

The dispatches that make up this series are puzzle pieces to a story about a sabotaged country and the people fighting for its sovereignty. During my roughly 1,000-mile trek, much of it along the unforgiving landscape of the southern and eastern frontlines, I sought to make sense of the barbarity of war. Sometimes these fragments fit together, but mostly they did not.

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