Journalists, photographers, and regional ethnographers from Lutsk decided to protect historical sights in a very original way. Activists staged photo hunt on the most neglected, in their opinion, historical sights. About a dozen of people “armed” with cameras walked around the old part of the city for a couple of hours and photographed half-destroyed sights. In such a way participants of the project “Photo Storm,” initiated by a newly established civic movement “Volyn Shield,” tried to draw the attention of the authorities, business, and ordinary citizens to the existing problem of destruction of architectural monuments.
“This is the fifth photo storm of such kind. This time the activists chose the key issue of the terrible condition of the State Historical and Cultural Reserve ‘Old Lutsk’ (area: 41 hectares). The campaign was named symbolically ‘Kuremsa Did not Go from Lutsk.’ The leader of the Tatars from the Golden Horde Kuremsa, who besieged Lutsk with a great army in 1259 and kept it under the siege for a long time, was forced to retreat due to the bad weather conditions and resistance of Lutsk residents. Now the photographs of the Photo Storm participants reveal the topic of another siege of the center of Volyn, this time it a siege of incivility,” one of the initiators of the Photo Storm, head of the NGO “Volyn” Ihor LEVCHUK told The Day. “With the help of photo art we tried to look at the old problem in a new way.” After a couple of hours of photo shooting every participant of the campaign offered five to ten of their best photos, which were presented at the anti-photo gallery of the most problematic areas of Lutsk. All the images presented at the exhibition can be viewed on http://volyntimes.com.ua/news/786
“Most of the photos depict the old market area. There is also Puzyna house – historical monument of national importance that has been recently ‘renovated’ and due to poor repairs actually lost its historical authenticity. Photographers also paid attention to the neglected cultural sites in the old city,” continued Levchuk. “It is nice that many of Lutsk residents are positive about our initiative implemented in such an unexpected way. People understand that photo art allows to draw a greater deal of attention to the problem of destruction of historical monuments. Besides, with the striking photographs participants of the campaign showed Lutsk residents that not only the business arbitrariness and the authorities are to blame for the neglect of historical monuments, but it is also their fault. Important historical and cultural sites drag out a miserable existence amidst human indifference, bureaucratic incompetence, and cynical lawlessness of business.”
Significantly, the initiative of the “Volyn Shield” was actively supported by the regional mass media. Despite the fact that the “Photo Storm” was originally planned to be carried out by the online newspaper Volyn-Times, photographers of four local publications were directly involved in the initiative and later published their photo reports. Other colleagues actively informed about the event and encouraged Lutsk residents to get involved in this civic campaign.
Iryna KONSTANKEVYCH, deputy chief of Ihor Palytsia’s New Lutsk Charity Foundation and Vice Rector for Education of Lesia Ukrainka East European National University:
“The initiative of the public, particularly young people, to use photographic art to draw attention to the problem of historical and cultural monuments in Lutsk commands respect. Young people, like no one else, are capable of looking at the problem with an objective eye and highlighting it in a creative fashion. I am convinced that politicians and businessmen should show social responsibility and support such initiatives as much as they can. This is what the New Lutsk Charity Foundation is doing, to some extent. Ihor Palytsia, as the founder of this organization, has long been concerned about preserving historical monuments in Lutsk. He has now appealed to historians and students of our university with a request to jointly work out a project to support individual cultural objects. We are convinced that the Old Town should have a new visage, while preserving its historical color. This issue is now being actively purposed by scholars headed by Dean of the Faculty of History Anatolii Shvab. Palytsia has promised to finance the project developed in the university, just like projects from NGOs. Naturally, the foundation will select the best projects in a competitive procedure.”