Photo Essay: Instagramming Ukraine's Revolution

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine
Big crowds for former PM Yulia #tymoshenko, Feb. 22, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #київ #україна #евромайдан #тимошенко #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman, on assignment for Getty Images, Instagrams his personal experiences of a photojournalist on the ground in Kiev, Ukraine.

I arrived in Kiev after midnight last Tuesday, my fourth trip there in three months. After a violent turn during the day in which nearly 30 people on both sides of the violence died, tensions were incredibly high. Independence Square, known as the Maidan, was in flames, with protesters and riot police standing off over the future of the country. In the wee hours of the morning, a turning point loomed. This was as tense as I'd seen things, and making pictures without getting in the way of a flying rock or bullet was difficult. I eventually moved to the balcony of a nearby building to get some perspective and safety, until that too became a target for police shooters. It was a big change from early December, when the encampment was more like a mix of an infantry field kitchen and a music festival, with a passionate yet light-hearted atmosphere. I spent 16 hours a day wandering around several square blocks in pursuit of a solitary goal, trying to visually translate the resolve evident all around me. After last week's actions, in which I saw dozens of protesters armed with nothing more than clubs and flimsy metal shields shot by police snipers, it's small comfort that those deaths appear, for now, not to be in vain. It's a remarkable thing to watch up close as a population overthrows its corrupt leaders, and strange to be surrounded by people who have so much at stake while I have comparatively little. Now begins the difficult work of moving forward.

 

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine It's an incredibly somber and emotional day on the #maidan, Feb. 23, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #київ #україна #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Anti-government protesters load a truck with wood pallets left behind by police, Feb. 22, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #київ #україна #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Taking in the scene on #euromaidan. #kyiv seems to have an amazing surplus of tires, Feb. 21, 2014. #ukraine #київ #україна #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Everybody is tired this morning after a crazy day and night, Feb. 19, 2014. #kyiv #ukraine #euromaidan #київ #україна #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine This is a bad day. Church bells ringing non-stop, Feb. 20, 2014. #kyiv #ukraine #київ #евромайдан #україна #euromaidan #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine People crowd #euromaidan to hear the latest on a reported agreement to resolve #ukraine crisis, Feb. 21, 2014. #kyiv #euromaidan #україна #київ #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine I'm back in #kyiv, watching it burn, Feb. 18, 2014. #ukraine #euromaidan #евромайдан #київ #україна #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Lighting candles in a tent church on the #maidan on a mournful evening, Feb. 23, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #київ #україна #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine A quiet night on the barricades. I'm leaving tomorrow but I suspect I'll be back again soon, Jan. 26, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #євромайдан #київ #україна #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine These guys are ready, Jan. 24, 2014. #євромайдан #україна #київ #euromaidan #kyiv #euromaidan #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine There was a ceasefire for about two hours. Now we're back to this, Jan. 25, 2014. #euromaidan #kyiv #ukraine #євромайдан #київ #україна #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine This is the kind of battle where you can eat cake on the front lines, Jan. 25, 2014. #euromaidan #ukraine #kyiv #євромайдан #київ #україна #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine People scale a slippery, snowy hill to escape the crowd at the pro-government Party of Regions rally just up the street from the #euromaidan, Dec. 14, 2013. #євромайдан #київ #україна #kiev #ukraine #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Sunset view of the #euromaidan from my room, Dec. 14, 2013. #kiev #ukraine #київ #україна #primecollective #євромайдан Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Barricades, detail, Dec. 13, 2013. #kiev #ukraine #київ #україна #євромайдан #euromaidan #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine A slushy religious service overlooking the Maidan, Dec. 13, 2013. #kiev #ukraine #київ #україна #євромайдан #euromaidan #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine Wet heavy snow brings out the latest in revolutionary fashion, Dec. 6, 2013. #kiev #київ #україна #ukraine #евромайдан #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine I think the police are bored, Dec. 6, 2013. #kyiv #kiev #ukraine #Україна #primecollective #евромайдан Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Brendan Hoffman Instagramming Ukraine This funny EU piano has been spotted everywhere - here it's in front of City Hall - but this woman can play for real, Dec. 11, 2013. #euromaidan #kiev #ukraine #євромайдан #київ #україна #primecollective Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective

Click the hyperlinks to view Brendan Hoffman's Instagram @hoffmanbrendan and website.

 

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