War Notes is a project of memories in the making, co-created with Ukrainian citizens during wartime. Over six weeks in the Spring of 2022 I traveled through Lviv, Odesa, Kyiv, and east to Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv, collecting a total of 53 portraits and interviews. Per participant, a single Fuji FP-100c polaroid was made. I then asked each participant to write their memories and emotions on a separate unexposed blank polaroid and conducted an in-depth interview. 

The polaroid portraits and written stories were collected in a single photo album that I carried with me as I traveled the country. This album was recreated as a limited-edition artist book published by Fugitive Materials and has been collected by leading institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Clark Art Institute, Bard College, Brown University, Harvard University, Monash University, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Syracuse University, Yale University, University of Oxford and University of Pennsylvania. 20% of proceeds from the book benefited 24.02 Fund, supporting Ukrainian journalists in the line of duty. 

A selection from War Notes received the 2023 FotoEvidence Book Award. The resulting publication of Ukraine: A War Crime presents the work of multiple photographers dedicated to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and war crimes committed on Ukrainian soil. 

Additionally, I collected audio from the interviews and ambient soundscapes which were combined with each diptych to make 53 short videos. These videos were made into an NFT collection launched via Vault by CNN, with all profits diverted to humanitarian aid. 

War Notes was exhibited at Superchief Gallery in NYC. 

This work was only possible with the tireless efforts and generosity of Ukrainian fixers, translators, drivers, hosts, and friends. Please scroll below to see a selection from War Notes and video recap from the exhibition.

Cheney Orr © All rights reserved.
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