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.