Valentyn Ogirenko

Valentyn Ogirenko

Based
Kiev, Ukraine
Born
Kiev region, Ukraine
Status
Reuters Photographer
Camera
Canon 1Dx
“Photographers can open people's eyes to the problems that we usually try not to notice or think about.”

Beat

News, sport, daily life

One Shot

. Kiev, Ukraine. Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko
A pro-European integration protester sits in a burnt police bus after a rally near government administration buildings in Kiev. 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 Kiev, 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.”

Profile

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.