“Fractured” is possibly the best way to describe planet earth, this piece of rock that circles around “The Sun” that humanity call home — although whilst we call it home we do not exactly carry out a lot of respect for it, and just when we thought hypothetically that the pandemic was almost over, with Covid becoming increasingly more endemic, good news you would have thought would have been on the horizon. However whilst things have appeared to be somewhat calmer in the background, things have been slowly building up — tensions arising and Russia seemingly flexing it’s muscles looking towards the creation of a geopolitical war, their target, Ukraine, a country known for it’s agricultural might and supplying quite a lot of wheat and other grains used for making bread, flour etc. Yet within the past few days the Ukraine has come face to face with Russia, with the Russian forces taking some contested parts of Ukraine as their own, all whilst the world looks on in horror, even more horrified are the Russian people who themselves have not wanted a war either, yet politics is being played out and of course they do not have a say — in what would otherwise be a democracy. Yet, the word “democracy” is merely an illusion these days.
However where there is war, there is always a need for documentation as it will inevitably become history — all be it, sour history with bitter memories, and that documentation comes in the form of photography, a different kind of photography that is known simply as “press photography.” Yes photography might be an art form in a lot of ways but it is also a form of visual communication that can tell a thousand words without the actual use of words in order to tell a story, strong is the best form of press photography and it is often the most simplistic of communication form that can tell those stories. Yet looking at what has been happening and is happening in Ukraine you immediately see ordinary people caught up in the middle, people with stores and emotion and people with love for other human beings along with their animals, who are seemingly the forgotten victims of war.
“It goes without saying that the only who suffer in the times of war, are ordinary human beings, men, women and children along with animals/pets, all of whom will have names and stories to tell, whom of which often ignored, yet their plight can be heard across the globe.”
Yes the plight of ordinary people wanting to escape Ukraine has been haunting to see, but there is just one photograph that can paint quite simply “a thousand words” and it was a photograph that was captured on the 24th of February 2022. The photo itself shows quite simply,
“A woman carrying her cat as she walks near Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi railway station in Kyiv.
The photograph above is one of those that tells a thousand words, nobody knows who the woman is, and nobody knows the name of the cat, other than “he” looks frightened, scared yet loved by his owner, who is also clearly frightened and caught up within the middle of a situation that should not be happening. The photograph itself captured by Daniel Leal, is one that also tells of the other side of war, the human side with just ordinary people and the connection of love between ourselves as humans and animals that we cherish.
A little later, and a reply from twitter user, @calma_caotica who tells us that she is sat next to the woman and the cat, and they are both safe. The question is, just how long are they safe for? Again a question that nobody knows, but this photograph is perhaps one of the most haunting images from “the war that nobody wants on either side” and that is probably the most harrowing thing. Destroyed are lives on all sides. Yet it is the power of photography that documents these strange times that we are living within.
But sometimes there are photos or a picture that tells a thousand words, and this is one of them, it shows the relationship between ordinary people, their pets and animals along with the extraordinary bond that they carry — and the woman in the photograph along with her cat is one that I am sure will be in a lot of people’s minds for quite a long time to come.
Complex yes is photography, but Daniel Leap, has managed to capture the silence, the stillness and the void within a horrible situation and that is exactly the reason why instead of ignoring press photography and snapshots within the newspaper, we should be looking at them and asking questions plus discussing the fractured state of the planet.
Powerful yes is photography and that goes without saying, but it is often the most silent of photographs which tell a thousand words and the photograph of the woman and her cat, both of whom we do not know the names of has to be perhaps the most expressive of photographs that has been taken within 2022, if not within recent times. Yet it is the silent that tells the story and no matter who or where you are in the world this photograph makes you wonder “what is war actually good for?” Clearly nothing when people on all sides silently suffer including pets and animals that we cherish.