Location: Slovak Border crossing in Uzhgorod.
The city of Uzhgorod is located in western Ukraine, beyond the mountains, and borders 3 EU countries. This is a relatively quiet area thus far (?). Having been engaged in volunteering since the third day of the war, I was lucky to join the "Transcarpathian Gastronomic Battalion", the group of volunteers and not indifferent people. They quickly organized themselves to help people crossing the Ukrainian- Slovakian border. Those fleeing were mostly women, children, and the elderly, as all Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 were banned from leaving the country. From the first days of the war, the refugee flows reached massive numbers, thus making the situation on the borders extremely terrible. People have been waiting in line for days to cross the border, while thousands of new refugees kept coming. They all needed food, warm drinks, just warmth, and, too often, mental health support. After what they went through in their bombed-out cities, it was the least we could offer them. Given that our border crossing point was the last stop before the family split apart, we often witnessed painful and dramatic farewells. Forced to remain on the Ukrainian side of the border, men brought their families to the border gate, where they all hugged, kissed, and said goodbye, as if for good. I have never seen so much love, as well as I have never seen so much pain. Almost every man took pictures of his children and wife by phone as a memento of their farewell. I really want to believe that these will not be their last photos.
In a deeply personal way, I could hardly photograph people myself, as I could not dare to interfere in their already fragile and ruined private space, although I understood the historicity and importance of the moment. Therefore, being at the border, I only managed to take a number of still life photos. I photographed chairs with the objects left on them, since they seemed to me like islands among waves of people, that is, places where one could stop and rest for a moment. And then all these people, like the waves, disappeared over the horizon, the unknown awaited them, but I know for sure: they all dream of returning home.