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'We Are Alive:' Teenage Photographers Capture Ukraine's War

“We Are Alive,” an exhibition of photography by teenage girls living on the front lines of the war in eastern Ukraine, opened in Kyiv on July 29. The photographers, ages 14-16, captured aspects of life in Maryinka, which has been the scene of fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists. The head of the youth media center that organized the exhibition, Oleh Tkachenko, said the project was intended as a form of self-expression for young people coping with the effects of war.


The young photographers live in Maryinka and neighboring Krasnohorivka, both towns that have come under frequent shelling during the past three years.
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The young photographers live in Maryinka and neighboring Krasnohorivka, both towns that have come under frequent shelling during the past three years.

One photo shows girls sitting in a classroom destroyed by fighting.
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One photo shows girls sitting in a classroom destroyed by fighting.

Children play with spent ammunition. Kids have been among the casualties of the conflict; most recently, two children were injured during an artillery test in Maryinka on July.
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Children play with spent ammunition. Kids have been among the casualties of the conflict; most recently, two children were injured during an artillery test in Maryinka on July.

Spent shells in a sandbox in Maryinka
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Spent shells in a sandbox in Maryinka

A window shattered by fighting
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A window shattered by fighting

A letter left inside a damaged home
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A letter left inside a damaged home

Some of the photography students intend to become photojournalists. "There are a lot of talented children in the front line district of Maryinka. And they can't leave their homes, because their parents are not welcome anywhere else,” says Oleh Tkachenko, the head of the youth media center.
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Some of the photography students intend to become photojournalists. "There are a lot of talented children in the front line district of Maryinka. And they can't leave their homes, because their parents are not welcome anywhere else,” says Oleh Tkachenko, the head of the youth media center.

Visitors to the exhibition in Kyiv can contribute to the students' photography work by donating money or used cameras.
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Visitors to the exhibition in Kyiv can contribute to the students' photography work by donating money or used cameras.

The photo exhibition took place at the Izolyatsia arts center, formerly located in Donetsk. The center relocated to Kyiv after separatist fighters seized its exhibition space and destroyed many of the artworks displayed there.
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The photo exhibition took place at the Izolyatsia arts center, formerly located in Donetsk. The center relocated to Kyiv after separatist fighters seized its exhibition space and destroyed many of the artworks displayed there.

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