Ukraine from revolution to war—in photos

A new exhibit on display at the Annenberg School shows conflict and resilience in Ukraine, as documented by Ukrainian and American photojournalists.

In the Annenberg School forum, 44 images comprise “Bearing Witness: Photographs from Ukraine,” an exhibition organized by the Center for Media at Risk at the Annenberg School for Communication, the Fulbright Program in Ukraine, and the Institute for International Education.

Photographs in the exhibit span the scope of nine years, from 2014 to 2023, documenting the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, from the Euromaidan Revolution to growing Russian aggression to full-scale war.

“Bearing Witness” provides glimpses into life during war, the human stories behind the headlines.

Left: A soldier and their daughter packing a bag in the child’s bedroom. Right: a child on a swing in a park with destroyed buildings in the background.
At left, soldier Yulya Tolopa packs her daughter’s suitcase in Kostyantynivka in January 2019. At right, a child on a swing in Borodianka in June 2022. (Images: J.T. Blatty, left, and Alexey Furman, right)

A child’s bed covered with a tarp to protect it from rain falling through a bombed ceiling. Sandbags shielding a maternity clinic from explosions. A road service employee dismantling a sign in hopes to confuse Russian troops. Hazy landscapes of Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, home to the Azovstal steel and iron plant, once an icon of early Ukrainian resistance, now destroyed by the war.

“Bearing Witness” came to be after Ukrainian artist Rymma Mylenkova, a Fulbright scholar at Penn’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design working on bringing art by Ukrainian artists to Philadelphia, contacted the team at the Center for Media at Risk to ask if they were interested in bringing the exhibition, which was first displayed at the Vinnytsia Regional History Museum in Ukraine, to Annenberg.

Barbie Zelizer, Raymond Williams Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Media at Risk, whose own research focuses on journalistic images in times of war, was deeply interested in hosting the exhibition.

“This exhibit comprises the heart of what the Center for Media at Risk tries to do: to bring threatened media practitioners and media practice into public view,” Zelizer says. “The exhibit offers a unique glimpse, through photography, of the ways that life perseveres regardless of the chaos and violence that surround it. It’s an honor to be able to give it a home here at Annenberg.”

This story is by Hailey Reissman. Read more at Annenberg School for Communication.

“Bearing Witness: Photographs from Ukraine” is on view all summer at the Annenberg School for Communication first-floor forum. It is open to the public Monday—Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.