We invite you to explore our photo exhibition called "Unending", opening for the first time at PIX.HOUSE gallery in Poznań this February 2024.

The exhibition focuses on various aspects of the conflict in Ukraine, highlighting the challenges and losses faced by the Ukrainian people as they fight for their freedom and identity.


“[…] the camera is the greatest terror of all the modern weapons. Especially those touched by war are very afraid of it, because every bombing raid starts with a photograph”1.

The American novelist, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck noted these words during his travels through the Soviet Union with the legendary photojournalist Robert Capa. Perhaps influenced by this joint Cold War journey through the USSR, Steinbeck developed a strong belief in the power of photography and reporting through it.

Steinbeck and Capa’s era was a time of the flourishing press, the strength of the written word, the power of reportage, and the significant impact of the photographic image on public opinion, coupled with a considerable trust in the media. A press pass meant something - it was more of a protection in a war zone than an enticement. Over the years, with subsequent armed conflicts, the situation gradually changed; we learned about kidnappings, victims, and the exploitation of those reporting conflicts as a valuable prize, bargaining chip, or even as a human shield. According to UNESCO data, the year 2023 turned out to be particularly deadly for journalists working in conflict zones, with the number of deaths almost doubling compared to the last three years.

We live in the 21st century. It’s terrifying.

The World Press Freedom Index recently published its annual report gathering data from 180 countries. The working conditions for journalists are poor in seven out of ten countries, and satisfactory in only three out of ten. This marks a significant change compared to previous years. This instability stems from the aggressive policies of the authorities in many countries and the growing hostility towards journalists. This is observed both in social media and in the field while covering events. The evolving industry of fake news, which massively produces and rapidly spreads disinformation and provides increasingly sophisticated tools for its production, also impacts this situation.2. Additionally, the nature of modern warfare contributes to this - “media warfare” becomes as important, if not more so, than conventional kinetic engagement.

I recall the photos of the destroyed bridge in Irpin at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They showed defenseless people either hiding under its rubble or making a great effort to cross to the other side. On the other riverbank, there was a considerable group of journalists and photojournalists, brought to the location by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, capturing the entire event. Hundreds of photos were taken. Hundreds of similar photos. They were spoken of as a symbol of the war, but only for a moment.

I also remember several photographs from the Kyiv metro, which for many days became a safe haven for thousands of Ukrainians. However, I don’t recall a multi-faceted, extensively developed, and persistently executed narrative about that place, about those people. A story that did not unfold in the center of events, but was somewhat on the sidelines, yet seemed to encapsulate, like in a lens, the drama of those days, the fear, and how ordinary people tried to cope with the cruel consequences of war — at all costs creating a semblance of a home, a home underground.

Perhaps the key then lies in telling the small stories of ordinary people? Staying outside of the mainstream media and social media channels? Ultimately, striving for authenticity and attempting to verify the information being disseminated? Maybe, but this approach is neither easy nor profitable.

What if, instead of blindly following the “guidance” of a Ukrainian Armed Forces press officer, we focused on the stories of women left alone in their homes, clinging to the hope that their husbands will return safely? What if we ventured beyond the main theatre of operations and constructed our narrative from the perspective of a small village located near the border with Romania? “The peaceful, idyllic life in Hutsul villages is suddenly shattered by the brutal reality of war. [...] The mountains, once a symbol of strength and stability, now echo with the silence of absence. The women and children left behind engage in their own daily struggle, bearing the burden of uncertainty and separation.” This presents a somewhat different view of the conflict, as captured in the photographs by Małgorzata Smieszek.

How about portraying the tragedy of war by highlighting the destruction of cultural heritage? Cultural aspects frequently get overshadowed, prioritised after politics, economic issues, and urgent matters. “The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine continues to document damages to cultural infrastructure objects in Ukraine as a result of the full-scale aggression by Russia. As of December 25, 2023, a total of 1,907 cultural infrastructure objects have been affected”3.

Adam Kasperkiewicz, who undertook the project “Libricide” documenting the destruction of books in Ukraine, stated that he worked on a story about destroyed libraries, but in reality, he focused on the story of people who are not only saving Ukrainian culture and identity but also contributing to the preservation of European culture and identity. This is the story of Natalia Petrenko, Tamara Kozel, Zoya Katreczko, Halina Andriunina, Maria Danylova, and many other courageous individuals who are dedicating their lives to saving heritage and the future.

Contemporary migrations evoke strong emotions and become an element of political struggle. At the very end, we think about the people who are fleeing from war, hunger, oppression, the effects of climate degradation, or the lack of prospects.

“The war initiated by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022 resulted in the largest post-World War II refugee migration in Europe, estimated by UNHCR at 5.2 million people. By the end of April, over 3 million war refugees had crossed the Polish border, of which over 95% were Ukrainian citizens”4. This important and challenging moment, also from the perspective of many Polish women and men who engaged in helping the refugees, was documented by Jarosław Jan Hemmerling.

The aforementioned three diffent views on the war unfolding just around the corner seem invaluable. Not because they are the most current, contemporary (trendy), innovative, beautifully displayed, described, and wellpresented. They are priceless because they are ordinary. Remarkably ordinary, everyday, and sincere. Painfully sincere.

Adrian Wykrota