Over one week and a half the photo exhibit in Donetsk has drawn a wide range of emotions and boundless attention of people. This is proof that the efforts of the newspaper were not in vain, because it is very gratifying to see people coming to the exhibit again and again. Besides, many readers leave their opinions not only about the photos, but about the newspaper on the whole. So, a regular reader of The Day from Donetsk Liudmyla BEZUSENKO said, “I have been keeping track of all the photo exhibits and photo competitions organized by the newspaper and I have seen many photos in print, on the newspaper’s pages. However, these days I read the electronic version. But I used to buy namely the paper version. At that time it was hard to find the newspaper in Donetsk. I was greatly impressed by the publication about the meeting of December 1 Group with students. I read it with interest, but unfortunately I could not see the video live. It is always very interesting to read the publications of The Day’s contributors, such as Ihor Losiev, Serhii Hrabovsky, and Oxana Pachlovska. These are my favorite authors and I have been keeping track of every word of theirs. I read the reader’s letters on a regular basis. I take a deep interest in the topic of ecology and nature in a broad sense, because I live in a very specific and complicated area. I can feel the impact of all these problems on myself. I am very fond of The Day and the newspaper’s activity. For example, today I’ve come up with a desire to buy a book of The Day’s Library Series. I take a great interest in the personality of James Mace. In my opinion, this is very important.”
The feelings our readers who visited the exhibit share with us can be compared to a mosaic. Every visitor of the ArtDonbas Gallery exhibit hall was full of warm, acute, painful, and joyful emotions, all at the same time. Every visitor carefully looked at every single photo and seemed to speak his/her inner language with it. This is a kind of intimate dialogue the residents of Donetsk are leading with the entire country. One can say at the exhibit The Day met Donetsk face-to-face for an important candid conversation.
And on one of the exhibition days, The Day’s reporter saw at the ArtDonbas that the box with votes was full, and captious visitors were crowding the hall. There I got acquainted with Oleksandr PROKUDIN, a first-year student of Philology Department of the Donetsk National University, who started reading The Day back in the end of last summer as soon as the newspaper appeared in the retail network of Donetsk. Oleksandr was very pleased. “The Day is by far the only Ukrainian publication which provides the readers with quality intellectual texts, excellent opinion journalism, Ukrainian views and senses. Unfortunately, I could not make it to the opening, therefore I decided to visit the exhibit on some other day,” he admitted. He had just started to look through the exhibit items, whereas another visitor, Serhii Mykolaiovych, by that moment had looked through nearly half of the photos. One could not but notice his commentaries and chuckling. The resident of Donetsk said he came to the exhibit to inflate his soul. He commented on every photograph, looking narrowly at every detail. “Look how beautiful it is!” (he pointed at the photo Good Soul) and look here (he approached another wall and pointed at the photo Tenderness; both photos depict a man and a dog): it seems that the two works are alike, yet they are different!” he said. As we proceeded, he exclaimed: “Look at her! She’s beautiful! It is amazing that they allowed making a photo of her! Look at this incredible face expression!” The yell of little Ukrainian is indeed captivating. What can be more beautiful than the birth of a child? Interestingly, little residents of Donetsk share this stand, too. So the book of opinions carries 8-year-old Mykyta’s commentary: “Beauty is the best photo!” Can you argue with the child? What about you?
Lara BILOZEROVA, Managing Editor of all-Ukrainian science-technology magazine Energy Saving:
“I very much liked the emotional photos, in particular, Resurrected by Serhii Vahanov. I don’t know why, but I could not help crying. It is very close to me. I very much liked the photos with animals, especially Warm like Home by Veronika Borkovska. I liked the photo Thank you, Sheva. As for me, it is very sincere and candid. I can make a special mention of the photo Reminiscence of Matriarchate by Andrii Nesterenko. I also liked the photo compositions with sculptures. I used to paint before and that is probably the reason why they became especially dear to me.
“It seems to me, the photos are quite demonstrative on the nationwide scale. But the topics of the Donbas do not quite precisely depict the real state of affairs here, because ‘our’ photos for the most part are dedicated either to profession, or catastrophe. But it seems to me there are still many happy people here, and it is worth speaking about this too. Even at the exhibit we were approached by people who asked for our permission to make a photo of us, because we seemed very happy and joyful to them.”
Natalia TODOROVA, head of the department of international, educational, and business communications of the Donetsk National Technological University:
“Some photos are quite depressive, yet they do depict our reality. The photos on the first floor evoke very positive impressions. And it is not the picture that impresses, but the facts that it inspires one to think. And this is precisely what our people need – to think and make their own conclusions based on their impressions, because we are surrounded by what I call junk food of information. These pictures however are something different, a very specific thing. I cannot say I liked them a lot. But I was not looking at them from the position ‘like – dislike.’ I made negative impressions about the photos about politics, but the photos with children produced extremely positive impressions on me. I especially liked the photo depicting a pregnant woman with a ball painted on her belly (Euro-2012 series). The photos with animals are very nice, because all of these show an open undirected emotion.”
Anzor DOMUZASHVILI, Donbas TV channel:
“I liked the photo exhibit very much. You stop near every photo composition, ponder over the things it depicts, and understand the entire context of our society. These are indeed the emotions Donetsk was lacking. I was especially impressed by the photo Friends which shows a boy who did not abandon his crippled dog. In my opinion, this is an incredible photo. It is very well thought-out and rich in content. It makes one ponder not only the way we treat animals at times, but the way we treat our fellows.”
Hanna AHAFONOVA, an employee at the PR department of the energy saving project GIZ:
“I have found a couple of captivating photos for myself. In aesthetic positive sense I liked Summer Rain and the work A Boy and a Bird. I like bird motifs very much in any creative work. Besides, I was impressed also by some socially acute pictures, although in my opinion, photos should not go too far and manipulate the emotions.”
Robert STESHENKO, miner, writer, museum enthusiast, manager of the six-time champion of Paralympics Viktor Smirnov:
“I got to know The Day thanks to Maia Kalinichenko and I came to love it right away. It is a great joy to me to be present at this feast [the opening of the photo exhibit. – Ed.]. The organization is excellent. And of course the photos are wonderful. I remembered the photo which depicts Arsenii Yatseniuk with Yulia Tymoshenko’s eyes in the background. The photo with three little Cossacks who are climbing up the hill (Cossack Brothers) is also very good. But the main thing for Donetsk is the impact photography has on youth, because many young people have come to the event. And this evokes special respect to the organizers of the exhibit.”