TRIBUTE TO ODESA
Entrant Name: Laetitia Vancon
Award Status: – Nominee
Award Category: Solutions
Story Locations: Odesa, Ukraine
In June 2022, I worked for three weeks in Ukraine, where I focused on Odesa region and city, a symbolic and strategic place. When I arrived there, almost six months after the war began, Odesa was resisting, not untouched, but unbowed. It found its solutions to fight back, not « physically » but by defending and keep on being all what the city embodies.
Odesa is the crux of the war not only because it holds the key to the Black Sea but also because in it the battle between Russian and Ukrainian identity — an imperial past and a democratic future, a closed system and one connected to the world.
In my photographs, far from the horrors that many of my colleagues have witnessed, I try to capture the essence of this fiercely independent and stubbornly inclusive city, which symbolizes everything that Mr. Putin wants to destroy in Ukraine. These scenes of daily life that sometimes seem far removed from those of a country at war also hide an insidious unease lurks beneath it, as the war is close, its front line no more than 80 miles to the east. But above all they show the resilience and strength of an entire country who finds in it the emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship.
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