'I cannot pick up a gun, so I must keep my camera close.' With that thought, I made a decision to go to the Polish-Ukrainian border with Patrick in March 2022. We are all exposed online to what is happening in Ukraine, but it is completely different to be there in person.
I felt guilty about going to the border region and capturing how most women and children are suffering. I would put my camera aside if someone needed my help. I would listen to someone’s personal story without taking any photos.
It was the first time in my life that I experienced taking photos under such circumstances. I did not know if doing what I did was appropriate and acceptable.
People at that moment were and are vulnerable, scared, and overwhelmed after such a long journey under immense pressure. They just entered a new country, but they are homesick already. Thoughts of being together with their families and returning home soon are the only things to warm people's souls.
The circumstances for these people crossing the border into Poland are different from mine. I deliberately made the decision to stay in Poland for my work and studies, but they had no choice.
When you travel under such circumstances, you are not as excited and curious as you always are when you travel during regular times. You don’t feel the joy of exploring new cities and countries.
You feel incomplete. You feel empty. You have a clear understanding: you are not a tourist, but a refugee of war.