“Those villagers living on the front line — that’s the part that got me the most. Those people have nowhere else to go.”
I have been fascinated by photojournalism and specifically combat or conflict photojournalism since first seeing the work of Larry Burrows when I was in high school. His photographs of Vietnam showed a side of war that I hadn’t seen before — not just the atrocities, but also the personal stories and the human cost of conflict. A few months back, Sean Tucker and I were having a conversation about conflict photography and he told me about a friend of his who had gone to Ukraine to photograph the war there after deciding that street photography wasn’t giving him the photographic experience he was looking for. His name is Ondřej Vachek, and after looking at his pictures and reading his accompanying essay called The Forgotten War, I knew I wanted to talk to him about not only the experience itself, but also about some of the back story and choices that led up to it.