Photographer Tom Girondel is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. From his project ‘Revolution, Prayer & Routine’. To see Tom’s body of work click on any image.
In 2013, the popular uprising against the increasingly authoritarian and corrupt Ukrainian regime was a turning point for an entire nation. After several weeks of tension and mobilization, in Kiev – on Maïdan – and in the oblasts, the population witnessed the flee of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych.
In the aftermath of the Euromaïdan, the atmosphere settles down; the activists desert the pedestrian esplanade, and the Khreschatyk boulevard return to normal. Only here remains a village of diehards and veterans from all over Ukraine.
The area is now marked by the memory of the heroes of the “Heavenly Centuries”, these hundred militants of Maïdan killed by the police – the “Berkut” – and whose destinies has broken down here. Maïdan becomes their sanctuary and the improvised altars – made of bricks and cobblestones – remind the cost of this “victory”
Equipped with my analog camera and black and white films, it is during this historic period that I decided to get there; I wanted to make the post-Maïdan universe timeless. I discovered then the void weighing around the square already symbolic.
In 2017, I decide to see Maïdan again. But this time with a digital camera. I wanted to use the same framings as in 2014, but in color to create a serie of diptychs to emphasize that life carried on despite the Donbass war, the annexion of Crimea, and a power in Kiev running out of steam, where tensions took hold on unity.
At Maïdan, the contrast is striking: life returned to normal, the onlookers have replaced the makeshift tents. The revolutionary atmosphere has disappeared and the post-Maïdan silence has given way to the noise of traffic jams on Khreschatyk Boulevard. Like any major capital, the esplanade welcomes every day many bystanders and tourists proud to take pictures.
Only the burned facade of the union house, which is concealed under a huge ad, is reminiscent of yesterday’s violence.