“Our hope is in the dark around the edges, not in the limelight of center stage.
Our hope and often our power.”
- from ‘Hope in the Dark’ by Rebecca Solnit
They say that the origin of the name “Ukraine” is derived from the Proto-Slavic word for “Edge”.
While looking at Christopher Nunn’s work, it feels to me as if the journey around the edge is an important element to his ongoing photography project in Ukraine.
Christopher’s grandmother was born in Ukraine, displaced by World War II to Germany and eventually England, and began to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. As the edges of her memory started to fray, weakening the thread that is supposed to hold everything together, Christopher tried to find a way to remain connected to her by learning more about the place she was born in.
He traveled to her birthplace Kalush and from there, started exploring regions across west and east Ukraine over repeated trips- forming important relationships and connections along the way.
What started as a personal journey to the edges of his own family history, developed into an ongoing series about the people and places in Ukraine’s fragile east. When political chaos, revolution and war started to unfold in 2014, the global media machine and photojournalism industry focused solely on the conflict. It became increasingly important for Christopher to also show a more subtle, domestic and human side and he took a quieter look at the periphery of these events.
Nunn’s images are often framed by themes of friendship, escapism, unity, alcohol and faith- they are small stories that are part of a larger picture, they are stories about being human.
In an interview with Michael Segalov from Huck magazine, Christopher Nunn said:
“You have to take time to understand where you are, and the context of what’s going on.
I think ultimately what I was doing subconsciously, was trying to show a more human side of a place that I felt really connected to,
despite it being in our consciousness because of war.”
Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and will have elections again tomorrow.
The people of Ukraine are neither defined by borders nor by conflict.
Maybe they are better defined by the stories that are born on the edges, small stories and unexpected moments of connection- like the ones that Christopher Nunn captures so poignantly in his photography.
May these stories glisten as hopeful as the beautiful boys from Kurakhovo, Donetsk in the summer of 2015.