Photojournalists Capturing Ukraine War

Denise Rodriguez, Photographer

Important photojournalists to depend on information and updates about the current situation between Russia and Ukraine would be Lynsey Addario, Wolfgang Schwan, and Aris Mesinis. Even when they are sacrificing their life, their initial goal is to inform and educate people about the war.

Lynsey Addario was interviewed by Katie Couric to speak about her current experience in Ukraine. She talks about why it’s important to capture photos during this time and why she’s devoted to her work. Addario’s photos capture the devastating reality of today’s society. In the interview she states, “Every day we’re looking at a mass mobilization of civilians, people who are offering themselves up as volunteers.” Addario reveals her true concern about civilians being brave enough to volunteer for such a thing. “Yesterday I was at this incredible center, which was a base where they train people in two or three days on everything from intelligence to anti-tank mining and operating a gun and all sorts of weapons,” Addario states. Ukraine is training civilians in just two to three days to defend their country; this grasps how Ukraine is desperately in need of help. Many may ask why Addario risks her life to travel to dangerous areas and report these events. Her response is, “…I think people need to see. This is such a historical moment… if you don’t have  journalists holding Putin accountable for what he’s doing, then it’s just gonna be Russian-led propaganda.” 

Another photojournalist capturing the events in Ukraine would be Wolfgang Schwan. During an interview with Max Marin, Schwan states how Kyviv feels like a different planet now. Schwan was able to meet a 53 year old woman who was injured in a Russian airstrike that hit the eastern Ukraine city of Chuhuiv. Schwan mentions, “The missile had landed squarely between two Soviet-style apartment buildings,” followed by, “First responders rushed in and out of the buildings, stepping over glass and debris to tend to the injured. Schwan began his journey of photo journaling back home with his brother in the Fishtown-Kensington area. He states how he started photographing rock climbing, his lifelong hobby, but then spotted news photography in 2020 where there was a “low bar entry,” he said. He then shows up to more events and learns from other photojournalists. After capturing graphic pictures and experiencing war first hand, he constantly reminds himself that, “Everything is different now.”

Another important photojournalist that is encountering the Ukraine war is Aris Messinis, who is the chief photographer for ATP in Greece. Messinis posts on his Instagram devastating images of an elderly man moaning as he covered the body of another dead man with a blanket. Messinis wrote, “In the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguev on February 24, 2022, as Russian armed forces are trying to invade Ukraine from several directions, using rocket systems and helicopters to attack Ukrainian positions in the south, the border guard service said. Russia’s ground forces on Thursday crossed into Ukraine from several directions, Ukraine’s border guard service said, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive. Russian tanks and other heavy equipment crossed the frontier in several northern regions, as well as from the Kremlin-annexed peninsula of Crimea in the south, the agency said.” As graphic these events may be, Messinis believes it’s important to inform the world about these tragedies. Messinis was a self taught photographer and became the Chief Photographer of the photography department in 2006.

Capturing these historic events through photos brings a more empathetic tone into this event and enlists how change must be taken place. It is important that photojournalists capture the Ukraine war because it helps encourage people around the world to help stop and prevent wars from recurring.