- PhMuseum 2023 Photography Grant
If a tree falls in a forest
Dates2022 - Ongoing
I started taking these pictures at the end of May 2022, just a month after russian occupation troops were defeated and left Kyiv and the northern regions of Ukraine. I was traveling around the region and was shocked by what I saw. I feel that I have to make pictures but didn’t have a clear idea of what to point at my camera. The environment was very chaotic. Looking through the matte screen of my large format camera, I understand that it is easier to relive the experience of the war, to distance from it. On the matte screen, the experience turned only into a cast of reality, a reproduction of it. So I started using photography as personal therapy.
The war simultaneously existed in all dimensions: real life and virtual. Images of war had penetrated our everyday life. Corpses, destroyed houses, scorched land — all this has become commonplace in the news feed and real life.
Against the backdrop of such psychological pressure, I was reminded of an old philosophical riddle: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?" In this interpretation, sound is not only a physical phenomenon but also requires an observer to interpret and experience it. Therefore, if there is no observer, there is no sound.
I used it as an analogy to the mental state of a person experiencing very deep emotional stress and at the same time that requires a conscious being to perceive it.