A woman stands, framed by the front entrance of her destroyed home in the village of Vil’khivka, east of Kharkiv, Ukraine on May 12, 2022. “As villages like Vil’khivka were beginning to be liberated from Russian control by Ukrainian forces, we entered Vil’khivka to witness the death and destruction that followed the Russian invasion—homes completely destroyed, exploded vehicles turned upside down, and civilians buried under the rubble of destroyed communities,” says the photographer Stanton Sharpe.
“We approached an almost annihilated home, crumbling from the force of continual Russian shelling, and found an elderly couple who were sorting what of their possessions remained intact under the rubble of their bombed home. As the couple organised their possessions, I watched the elderly woman leave her front yard where the border between her yard and the main road was now indecipherable, and the front door of her yard was only a skeleton of a door, propped up by a few straggling bricks. Whether out of habit or defiance, the situation revealed the fierce defiance of this woman in the face of death.”
“She returned to her home, though there was all nothing left of it. She returned to rebuild, even with incoming mortars from Russian forces continuously crashing around the town of Vil’khivka.”
Stanton Sharpe is a documentary photographer and photojournalist. His main objective with photography is simple—to better understand humanity and to offer others underrepresented perspectives in our world. He works where he is most curious, and his work has taken him to various regions across Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, the United States and Europe.
Sharpe hopes that his work will encourage others to push beyond their personal boundaries and explore the world’s diverse environments, as he believes that empathy and acceptance can only be found through the courage to foster experience, relationship and education.