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Haunting photos capture the remnants of everyday life in Ukraine

Broken windows, fragmented lives.
Carol Guzy
Broken windows, fragmented lives.

Six months after Russia has invaded Ukraine, and on the 31st Independence Day of Ukraine commemorating their departure from the Soviet Union in 1991, we look at the result of the war and what remains...

Eerie paintings in shades of burnt sienna. Remnants of everyday life, frozen in a macabre stillness at the precise moment time stopped when Russian bombs rained down on residential dwellings in the liberated towns of Irpin and Borodianka. Exquisite light kisses the scorched palette. Baby cribs and wheelchairs. Charred cameras that once held tender family photos. A coffee cup sits on a table near a recliner, singed and flaking. A kitchen table holds food left uneaten. What were they cooking that last day of normal?

Life, Interrupted.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Life, Interrupted.
Vacant mirrors, empty chairs.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Vacant mirrors, empty chairs.
Last supper.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Last supper.

Lives led, now put on hold. Or extinguished. Precious mementoes reduced to dust. Twisted metal, empty chairs, melted microwaves. Too painful to ponder what the power of these weapons of destruction does to human flesh at the point of impact.

Unsweet dreams.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Unsweet dreams.
Familiar things.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Familiar things.
Melted microwaves.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Melted microwaves.

Civilian things. Not the stuff of combatants. Humanity's hopes, dreams, loves — in war, they are merely "collateral damage."

Shadows of life.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Shadows of life.
The moment time stopped.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
The moment time stopped.
Death's ballet.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Death's ballet.
Books unread. An accordion of ash.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Books unread. An accordion of ash.

A popular cat café, once the scene of camaraderie and conversations over cappuccinos, lies in ruins. Broken glass becomes a metaphor for shattered lives. Survivors, saved from the bombardment by a fickle destiny of circumstance, visit in bittersweet homecomings to pick through pieces of their former reality.

Echoes of Everyday.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Echoes of Everyday.
Altered destiny.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Altered destiny.
Faded Memories.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Faded Memories.

Others will never return. Their life's breath now a faded memory among cherished keepsakes scattered in living rooms of ash.

Façade of destruction.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
Façade of destruction.
War's Legacy.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
War's Legacy.
The sunflower is an unofficial national symbol of peace in Ukraine and has been used worldwide to show support since the invasion.  In 1996 sunflowers were planted by Ukrainian, Russian and U.S. defense ministers in a ceremony at a missile base commemorating Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons.
/ Carol Guzy
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Carol Guzy
The sunflower is an unofficial national symbol of peace in Ukraine and has been used worldwide to show support since the invasion. In 1996 sunflowers were planted by Ukrainian, Russian and U.S. defense ministers in a ceremony at a missile base commemorating Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons.
What remains...
/ Carol Guzy
/
Carol Guzy
What remains...

Carol Guzy is a 4-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for her work in Haiti, Kosovo and Colombia. She worked as a staff photographer at the Miami Herald from 1980 - 1988 and at The Washington Post from 1988 - 2014. She is currently a contract photographer for Zuma Press. Follow Carol on Instagram.

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Carol Guzy