Valentyn Ogirenko

Valentyn Ogirenko

Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv region, Ukraine
“Photographers can open people's eyes to the problems that we usually try not to notice or think about.”


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One Shot

. Kyiv, Ukraine. Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko
A pro-European integration protester sits in a burnt police bus after a rally near government administration buildings in Kyiv. Protesters clashed with riot police in the Ukrainian capital after anti-protest legislation, which the political opposition says paves the way for a police state, was rushed through parliament.
“After overnight clashes between police and pro-European demonstrators in Kyiv, a brief lull happened in the early morning. As I tried to clamber over burnt-out cars to reach the area between the two sides, I saw this man in an old Soviet gas mask, sitting at the wheel of a police bus, playing like a child.”


My earliest memory of photography is from when I was a child. My uncle was an amateur photographer and did his own developing. It was like magic to watch as an image appeared on a blank sheet of paper.

I learnt to photograph by myself to start with, with the help of books.

Becoming a photographer appealed to me because I didn’t want to sit still in one place my whole life. Photography, it seemed to me, could help to move forward and develop as a person.

My first assignment as a photographer was at a protest by Ukrainian women's rights group Femen. That experience made me think about every step while on assignment - and how to make the right decisions quickly.

Working in a warzone in the East of Ukraine is the assignment that’s left the biggest mark on me. I reassessed my own life and understood what is really important to me - and also why I do what I do.

After I had became a photographer, at some point I realized that I could change someone's life only with one photo. I understood that I am responsible not only for my own actions, but also for the fate of every person who is in my pictures.