Irina, a Ukrainian woman living with her daughter and two of her seven grandchildren, woke up one morning to find the Russian Army just outside her farmhouse. “We went to sleep, they came in that night, the next day we noticed [the Russians] were already here. We don’t know how they built their fortifications... We stayed inside in our shelter and never went outside to see.”
“Iriana acted quickly to protect her family from their invaders and hid her daughter and grandchildren in the outdoor cellar with the farm animals,” says the photographer Jacques La Flèch. “She told me that ‘when everything was silent and there were no bombing or shelling, we would remove the kids [from the bunker] one by one so that they could breathe some fresh air, even just for a few minutes. There is still fear when we hear the cars and the trucks or see the lights in the evening. We still have fear. We are even afraid to turn on the light. We don’t want anyone to recognize that we are here.”
Jacques La Flèche is a Franco-American photojournalist based in the U.S. His work is primarily focused on sociopolitical documentation and war correspondence through an artistic lens. He works to showcase the unique differences of various cultures as principled strengths we can learn from the world over, Flèche’s imagery seeks to evoke a sense of wonder and respect for others and their ways of living.
“Living in an interconnected relationship with nearly every culture and people group, the necessity to learn and understand one another is paramount to our growth,” Flèche says. “My desire in photography is to provide a raw yet loving lens of appreciation and understanding for world events and the people affected by them.”