Lada, with willows. A red lada sits enveloped by enormous willow trees. Heisykha, Ukraine.


2018—Present  Heisykha, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine

An ongoing portrait of kinship, domesticity, and ecology, this body of work documents the daily life of a single family living off the land in a tiny agrarian village in rural Ukraine. In one hand, this work explores aspects of family and village life that are increasingly vulnerable to economic, socio-political, and environmental volatility. On the other, this unfolding story of one Ukrainian family shows us what’s possible when we meaningfully connect to the land that supports us—and, more saliently, what’s at stake when we don’t.

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Sophia, picking wild berries. Foraging is a common and enjoyable practice throughout the village, especially during berry and mushroom season. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Vasya with chicken viscera. One of the family’s cats, Vasya, enjoys the viscera as Halya processes a chicken for dinner. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Fallen pears and chopping block. Fallen pears collect in front of the chopping block and outdoor kitchen the family uses to store surplus produce and prepare feed for their pigs. With the exception of select grains and condiments, the family grows, raises, and forages almost everything they eat. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Sasha, cooking lunch. Sasha boils a freshly slaughtered and processed chicken for lunch. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Herb garden at sunrise. The sun rises behind the family’s herb garden where they grow a variety of culinary and medicinal plants. Throughout the year, they dry what cannot grow out of season and store everything in the cellar. Heisykha, Ukraine. Serhii digging potatoes. Everyone in the family helps in the fields. Here, the father uses his foot to unearth a potato that wasn’t captured by his mechanized push harvester. Heisykha, Ukraine.Ducks rush from their enclosure for dinner. Ducks rush from their enclosures to feast on grains, insects, and plants. Heisykha, Ukraine. Defeathering chickens. The family works together to slaughter, defeather, and process a couple of the dozens of free-range chickens they raise. Heisykha, Ukraine.Sasha waits on dinner. Sasha waits for the rest of her family to sit down at the table for dinner after a long day of digging potatoes—some of which are mashed and included in the spread. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Garden flowers in midsummer. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Pig jaw in midwinter. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Yulia departs for Kyiv. The family gathers on Christmas Day to see Yulia off to Kyiv. Like many young adults in Ukraine, Yulia would prefer to live in the village but as there are few career opportunities, she lives in Kyiv for work. Heisykha, Ukraine. Myrka in her trumpet vine. As the great feline matriarch, Myrka takes her prized perch in the entangled branches of a trumpet vine in midwinter. Heisykha, Ukraine.  Baba Nadia's embroidery adorning her sitting room. Like many traditional sitting rooms, Baba (grandmother) Tania’s is embellished with a rich variety of her hand embroidered towels, pillows, and textiles. Despite being a core and signature expression of Ukrainian culture, fewer young people are carrying on this tradition that has permeated throughout family lines and individual regions for centuries.
Baba Nadia, in her sitting room. Baba Nadia sits pensively in her sitting room in midwinter. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Feeding the pigs. Grandfather Metro feeds his pigs shortly before the slaughter. Like most in the village, the family keeps anywhere from 1–3 pigs throughout the year. In winter, one is slaughtered and processed to provide food for the family throughout the coming months, perhaps even the entire year. Heisykha, Ukraine
Serhii grills pork over the fire. Serhii grills pork in January, as Vasya (the family’s most precocious cat) warms himself underneath. Heisykha, Ukraine.
Christmas Day Dinner. A table set for the entire family on Christmas Day in the Baba (Grandmother) Nadia’s sitting room. With the exception of select grains and condiments, the family grows, raises, and forages all the food on the table. Heisykha, Ukraine.Baba Nadia, on Christmas. Baba Nadia looks on as the family departs after Christmas Day dinner to begin a long night of caroling around the village. Heisykha, Ukraine.