Ukraine, Photos by Sıla Yalazan
I first went to Ukraine in the summer of 2019. I spent quite a while in Odessa then, a seaside port city. I was immediately amazed by everything that I saw, all of the characters I met. Even for a frequent world traveler like me, it was like nothing I had seen before.
I went four times after that, in the summer, winter, and "post-pandemic". In these challenging times, one thing I observed was the joy and strength of the people. I found freedom. By the end of my stay I realized I was running away from the oppression in my country.
During my last trips, I visited more than 10 cities throughout Ukraine. From swamps to mountains, my eyes were were tired by all the beautiful and inspiring things I'd seen.
It's very hard for me see the country now. I am envisioning the places and faces I saw. Are they still there? Is their city damaged? Are they alive?
I have only memories and images to hold to now, before the invasion of beautiful, free Ukraine.
Sıla Yalazan is a photographer based in Istanbul