Stephen Shore in Ukraine
The photographer reflects on two momentous visits and the resulting body of work.
Jul 11, 2023
In July 2012 and October 2013, the photographer Stephen Shore traveled to Ukraine to photograph Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. For Shore, the project was somewhat unexpected. He is best known for photographs that explore the mundane aspects of American popular culture, and the Ukraine project—anchored by portraits—was both more overtly political, and more focused on people, than much of his previous work. The resulting photographs, gathered in the book Survivors in Ukraine, captured the resilience of both his subjects and their country. A decade later, with the country now at war, Shore spoke to me about the project, reflecting on his time in Ukraine.
This interview follows on more than a year of features about the impact of the war on artists, writers, and cultural groups, including Anna Sarvira’s illustrated story about daily life on the brink of the invasion, an interview with activists navigating the challenges facing LGBTQ+ refugees, a poem by Serhiy Zhadan that occupied a wall in a MoMA gallery titled In Solidarity, a short film about a pivotal painting by Ukrainian-born artist Janet Sobel, and a music commission by the Kyiv-based electronic musician and composer Oleh Shpudeiko, better known as Heinali.
—Alex Halberstadt, Senior Writer, Creative Team