The Cranes Are Flying is a project inspired by my grandparents who were forced to flee their Ukrainian homeland during World War II. The photographs examine the faces and landscape of a country discarded—the story of a people with unspoken pride and fierce determination.The title of the project references a Ukrainian folk song that speaks of an unending gray string in the sky–formed by departing cranes. It speaks of their forced flight, their path through the fog and if they have been lucky enough to have made it to the other side–the inevitable wear the journey has had on their wings.
I went to Ukraine to photograph my family, hoping to understand the deep history that has shaped our many generations. It started off as a very personal project that grew into something I didn’t foresee—an intimate window into a culture built on fear and hope.
The hardship and pride of the Ukrainian people was brutally apparent in the faces of the people there, but the silence of a repressed history is something that I could only see in the ethereal beauty of the landscape. The years under the Soviet Regime left a residue across the land that tells the story of a repressed people—a story that is unspoken, yet filled with overwhelming beauty.
After the Storm, Within and Grandma’s House are bodies of work uncovering additional layers of this story.