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Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR


A bridge in Irpin, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A bridge in Irpin, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

“Since the start of the war, my main goal has been to show this war through photography,” says Vladyslav Krasnoshchok, a doctor and artist in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv, was besieged for nearly three months. The center of the northeastern city is just 30 miles from the Russian border. Russian troops quickly advanced on Kharkiv and pounded it for weeks with mortars, heavy artillery and cruise missiles. Hundreds of thousands of people fled, while others took refuge in the city’s cellars and underground metro stations.

Krasnoshchok remained put even as others sought safety further west or left the country. But he didn’t want to use underground bomb shelters.

“I’ve never used basements or anything like that,” he says, “because it’s damp there. It’s cold and dark. I don’t need that.”

Krasnoshchok, who is 41, describes himself as a “geopolitical surrealist” painter. Once the war started, he wanted to document how the invasion drastically changed the country.

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Anti-tank obstacles block a street in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Anti-tank obstacles block a street in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

“I only work with physical photos,” he explains of his choice to use a 1980s Olympus Pen S 35mm camera loaded with black-and-white film rather than a still camera. modern digital. He develops the film himself and prints his images at his home in one of Kharkiv’s residential areas. “I really believe my work is very different from digital images because it’s actually in front of you,” he says. “It’s like real art, and it’s really important to the story.”

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A crumbling building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A crumbling building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

At the start of the war, Krasnoshchok began wandering the empty streets of Kharkiv with his camera. It was still winter. The snow contrasted sharply with the blackened, bombed-out buildings.

“In just 1 1/2 kilometers [almost 1 mile] radius of my house, there is a lot of destruction here,” he said. “They pounded a lot here.

He says he found the stark, destroyed landscapes visually arresting. “They remind me of a sort of post-apocalyptic imagery of cities like Chernobyl or Detroit,” he says.

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A monument to poet Taras Shevchenko stands in front of crumbling buildings in the city of Borodyanka, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A monument to poet Taras Shevchenko stands in front of crumbling buildings in the city of Borodyanka, Ukraine, in March.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

“Why go black and white? Because with this method, I completely control the whole process,” he says. “From the moment I take a picture, to the use of chemicals, to its printing, to its framing, this is the purest way to do photography.”

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A tank sits on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A tank sits on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Krasnoshchok really wanted to do something creatively different from the many photographers documenting the war. “Everyone is shooting digital now,” he says. “There are so many, and I’m pretty sure if we look at all of their work, we’re going to see a similar pattern to how they do it. With this physical method, I really believe it’s going to allow me to find my own point of view.”

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

The outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

The outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A dog sits in Vil’khivka, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

A dog sits in Vil’khivka, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

“In my art, I try to study the composition and structure of the image and its influence on the viewer,” says Krasnoshchok.

“I stay here most of the time so I don’t miss anything interesting.”

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Refugees shelter in a metro station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Refugees shelter in a metro station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Refugees shelter in a metro station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Refugees shelter in a metro station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in April.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

He sent some of his negatives and some of his paintings to a friend’s house in central Ukraine for safekeeping. He posts several of his photos on Instagram.

But he grew up in Kharkiv. His house was passed on to him by his father. It’s not just that Krasnoshchok doesn’t want to leave, he wants to be here in his hometown right now.

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Journalists document the war in Tsyrkuny, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in May.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Journalists document the war in Tsyrkuny, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in May.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

“A war is a unique thing,” says Krasnoshchok. “Sometimes in a lifetime you have it once. Sometimes you don’t have it at all.”

As an artist, he wants to absorb it. He says he’s not afraid of being killed or a bomb falling on his house because it’s out of his control.

“I keep 90% of all my art, all my stuff here because I believe if a missile hits here or something happens here, I’m mentally ready to say goodbye to it all,” he says, pointing his accommodation. room, which is covered with his paintings. “It’s a wooden house – if anything comes here it will be absolute destruction.”

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Shells are stacked in Mala Rohan, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2022.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Shells are stacked in Mala Rohan, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2022.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Wreckage in Tsyrkuny, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in May.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok


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Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Wreckage in Tsyrkuny, a village on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in May.

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok

Krasnoshchok says he first makes his art for himself, then he hopes that through his art the viewer will end up seeing the world differently.

Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok sits in front of one of the many murals he painted in his garden outside his house in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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Artist in Ukraine Captures War in Vintage Black-and-White: The Picture Show: NPR

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok sits in front of one of the many murals he painted in his garden outside his house in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

Vanessa LeRoy did the photo editing for this story.



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