INTERVIEW: TIMOTHY EASTMAN ON PHOTOGRAPHING CONFLICT IN THE UKRAINE
Timothy Eastman, a 34-year-old photographer based in Brooklyn, traveled to Ukraine in August 2015 for a seven-week journey through small villages ravaged by recent conflict. Using his own resources and navigating the country with the support of connections established through social media, Eastman explored the impact of the War in Donbass on everyday lives in Pisky, Ardiivka, Chermalyk and other villages through portraits of ordinary people and their surroundings. Eastman spoke with American Photo about the impressions this experience left on him and his plan to return to Ukraine in June 2016.
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 2011, you photographed political protests in the eastern United States, including the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and then made your first trip to Ukraine to photograph the Euromaidan Protests in 2013. What about your initial experiences there motivated you to return to country two years later?
The conflict in Ukraine is interesting because it isn’t fully active, due to a series of ceasefires that have been put in place, but even with the ceasefires it isn’t quiet either. Fighting still occurs along the line that separates Ukrainian-held territory from territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists. I was looking for a place that I could go to do stories. I’m interested in conflict, but not photographing combat. I’m interested in the effects war has on people, more conflict-adjacent than pure conflict photography. Because of my experience photographing the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, I felt some level of familiarity and comfort with Ukraine, and I already knew some people there. It seemed like a natural choice.
Read the full interview here