Culture of the Confrontation

Shortlist 2015

Maxim Dondyuk

Maxim Dondyuk is a Ukrainian artist who works in the field of documentary photography.

He began his professional career as a photojournalist working for Ukrainian mass media in 2007. Since 2010 he has been working as a freelance photojournalist on his own projects. In 2011 Mr. Dondyuk took part in Noor-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography seminar in Bucharest.

Maxim prefers to work as a gonzo journalist. He tries to evade stereotypes, directly involves himself in all the events, tapping into his personal and professional experience and emotions in order to comprehend and accentuate the essence of what's taking place.

Mr. Dondyuk is currently collaborating with such international publications as Rolling Stone, TIME, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, STERN, Paris Match, Le Monde, PDN and numerous others. He is also collaborating with the World Health Organization and International Committee of the Red Cross.

Mr. Dondyuk's works have won numerous international prizes and grants.

The Conflict

Culture of the Confrontation

Winter 2013 changed Ukraine.

3 months of bloody clashes, tears, fear, Molotov cocktails, burning car tires and deaths. It already was not just a protest in the support of the EU. Ukrainian revolution brought new spirit, changed people  mind. Ukranian protesters became one organism that faught with a great passion and intensity for happy future.

From the very beginning Euromaidan turned into a real performance, where  the battle of opposites began. Good and evil, light and shadow, thick black smoke and whiteness of the February snow, orange helmets against black. On the revolutionary canvas disturbing and bloody scenes interwove with visually incredibly beautiful scenes . Euromaidan became one of the most beautiful revolutions, like scenes from Hollywood film.

In my photos I tried to show the scale of all that happened in the centre of the country. Very often I lost the line between reality and fiction. I forgot the place, time and the cause of what was happening. In one moment the battle scenes reminded me of terrible days of the previous wars. In another frosty, fiery battle turned Maidan Nezalezhnosty into a phantasmagoric place. Carefree, obstreperous Kyiv completely lost its familiar features.

The title 'Culture of the Confrontation' shouldn't be taken too literally, it is not art culture which  confronts someone or something. Everything that happened in Ukraine, beginning with Euromaidan,  is confrontation of two different cultures. One culture  tries to preserve the old era,  waxes nostalgic about former Soviet Union,  looks into the past. the people of this culture want to return the life they lived before. And we have another culture that thinks completely differently and  believes in a happy future for their country. By  the word culture I mean world view, style of life,  thoughts, religion. At Maidan it was  not two different generations but two cultural layers which live in one place.

This confrontation is eternal, it started ages ago and will continue again and again. It doesn not depend the  country.