Photos from the war: A Philadelphia photographer is in Ukraine, documenting resilience amid destruction and chaos

“Each of these men, women, and children have a story.”

A father waves goodbye to his daughter as she departs to the safety of Poland

A father waves goodbye to his daughter as she departs to the safety of Poland

Mike Logsdon
MikeLogsdon

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Kensington resident Mike Logsdon came to Philadelphia for college and never left. He fell in love with the city, the people, the history, and the culture. When he traveled to Ukraine at the beginning of this month, he found something he recognized.

“The thing that jumps out at me is their resilience, grit, determination, and strength,” said Logsdon, 41, comparing the Ukrainians he’s met to the people of his chosen hometown.

He said his trip — via plane through London to Poland, on trains through Poland to Lviv, and in a winding 14-hour car ride past military checkpoints to Kyiv — was inspired by his mother’s own experiences as a refugee. He’d heard about the suffering her family encountered when her father was imprisoned by the Japanese army, escaping to Australia, then growing up in Morocco before finally arriving in the United States.

As a photographer, Logsdon wanted to put a human face on the relentless news about the Russian invasion.

“It’s easy to forget when we hear that 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country and millions more are internally displaced that each of these men, women, and children have a story,” he said. “Where statistics can strip away the humanity of this crisis, hopefully images and names can restore it, to a small degree.”

Logsdon, who splits his time between photojournalism, charitable missions, and running the tech company he co-founded, has been documenting his photo work on Instagram. The feed transitions from captures of marches and clashes across the U.S. during the racial injustice protests of summer 2020, to families crossing the Río Grande into Texas, to the fighting in eastern Europe.

The most memorable thing there has been seeing families split apart. But he’s also been inspired.

“Everywhere we see people contributing to the fight against the invasion,” he said. “From breweries switching to making molotov cocktails, to welders making tank obstacles, to women and men training and deploying to the fighting in the east.”

Scroll down to view 10 images Logsdon selected from the first weeks of his time in Ukraine, along with his captions.

Mourners made the sign of the cross as the caskets of Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich were blessed at the Blessed Virgin Mary of UGCC Church on March 16th, 2022 in Starychi, Ukraine. The two soldiers were among the 35 killed and 134 injured during a Russian missile strike on the military base in Yavoriv on March 13th.

Mourners make the sign of the cross as the caskets of Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich are blessed at the Blessed Virgin Mary of UGCC Church on March 16 in Starychi. The two soldiers were among the 35 killed and 134 injured during a Russian missile strike on the military base in Yavoriv on March 13.

Mike Logsdon
The Vyshyvanyj family, who lost one son in the initial Russian invasion, buried their second son following the Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base. The men’s mother pleads to God as she sobs at the funeral in Lviv on March 13.

The Vyshyvanyj family, who lost one son in the initial Russian invasion, buried their second son following the Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base. The men’s mother pleads to God as she sobs at the funeral in Lviv on March 13.

Mike Logsdon
A grieving mother touches her son’s face for the last time. Slain in the initial days of the Russian invasion, funerals for three Ukrainian soldiers, Taras Diduk, Dmytro Kabakov, and Andrii Stefsnyshyn, were held at the same time on March 11 in Lviv. In a highly emotional service, the men were brought from the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to be buried in Lychakiv Cemetery with military honors.

A grieving mother touches her son’s face for the last time. Slain in the initial days of the Russian invasion, funerals for three Ukrainian soldiers, Taras Diduk, Dmytro Kabakov, and Andrii Stefsnyshyn, were held at the same time on March 11 in Lviv. In a highly emotional service, the men were brought from the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to be buried in Lychakiv Cemetery with military honors.

Mike Logsdon
A young girl stands between two shovels next to the grave of her father. Services for two soldiers, Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich, killed by a Russian missile strike on March 13, were held at the Blessed Virgin Mary of UGCC in Starychi near Lviv on March 16.

A young girl stands between two shovels next to the grave of her father. Services for two soldiers, Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich, killed by a Russian missile strike on March 13, were held at the Blessed Virgin Mary of UGCC in Starychi near Lviv on March 16.

Mike Logsdon
A group of soldiers prepare to carry out the caskets of their fellow soldiers killed in the initial invasion. Services are carried out multiple times per week and most include several soldiers lost. The young honor guard helps bury the fallen. This day, March 11, it was Taras Diduk, Dmytro Kabakov, and Andrii Stefsnyshyn. The men were brought from the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to be buried in Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv.

A group of soldiers prepare to carry out the caskets of their fellow soldiers killed in the initial invasion. Services are carried out multiple times per week and most include several soldiers lost. The young honor guard helps bury the fallen. This day, March 11, it was Taras Diduk, Dmytro Kabakov, and Andrii Stefsnyshyn. The men were brought from the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to be buried in Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv.

Mike Logsdon
An honor guard stands with rifles as they prepare for the burial of Ukrainian soldiers, Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich in Starychi near Lviv, Ukraine on March 16. Both men were killed by a Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base in Ukraine on March 13.

An honor guard stands with rifles as they prepare for the burial of Ukrainian soldiers, Mykola Dmytrovych and Roman Fedorovich in Starychi near Lviv, Ukraine on March 16. Both men were killed by a Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base in Ukraine on March 13.

Mike Logsdon
Dating since 2015, Vladimir Ozarkov and Ulyana Kudla had been planning to get married after Easter. However, with the country at war and Vladimir's prior military experience, they knew he would soon be called to fight the Russian invasion.   The couple decided, rather than wait, they would push to try and make their commitment to one another before he deployed. On March 8 they filed to marry, and were told because the country is under martial law that they could marry within one day. On that Friday, Vladimir registered for military enlistment, Saturday he passed the medical evaluation, and Sunday, he was meant to deploy. However, he was granted an extra day.   The two contacted the church to see if it would allow them to hold a ceremony in between masses. They quickly called family and friends to let them know their plan. And then Vladimir and Ulyana were married, or as he said, they became ‘a happy family.’ The couple decided, rather than wait, they would push to try and make their commitment to one another before he deployed. On March 8th they filed to marry with the Registry Office and they were told because the country is under martial law that they could marry within one day. On that Friday Vladimir registered for military enlistment, Saturday he passed the medical evaluation, and today, Sunday, he was meant to deploy. However, he was granted an extra day.   The two contacted the Church to see if they would allow them to hold a ceremony in between Masses. They quickly called family and friends to let them know their plan. And, today, Vladimir and Ulyana were married, or as he said, they became "a happy family".

Dating since 2015, Vladimir Ozarkov and Ulyana Kudla had been planning to get married after Easter. However, with the country at war and Vladimir's prior military experience, they knew he would soon be called to fight the Russian invasion. The couple decided, rather than wait, they would push to try and make their commitment to one another before he deployed. On March 8 they filed to marry, and were told because the country is under martial law that they could marry within one day. On that Friday, Vladimir registered for military enlistment, Saturday he passed the medical evaluation, and Sunday, he was meant to deploy. However, he was granted an extra day. The two contacted the church to see if it would allow them to hold a ceremony in between masses. They quickly called family and friends to let them know their plan. And then Vladimir and Ulyana were married, or as he said, they became ‘a happy family.’

Mike Logsdon
Refugees often arrive exhausted and traumatized by what they have seen and what they left behind to reach Lviv. While some hope to to stay in Lviv, in a city that has nearly doubled in size from internally displaced people, most choose to cross the border into Poland. With the first missile strike within the city happening on March 18, many realized it might only be a matter of time before war found them there.

Refugees often arrive exhausted and traumatized by what they have seen and what they left behind to reach Lviv. While some hope to to stay in Lviv, in a city that has nearly doubled in size from internally displaced people, most choose to cross the border into Poland. With the first missile strike within the city happening on March 18, many realized it might only be a matter of time before war found them there.

Mike Logsdon
Trains packed with refugees depart night and day from Lviv.   Mostly women and children, they are fleeing from every part of Ukraine in search of safe passage west. As the war touches more and more cities and with rockets hitting just 60 km (37 mi.) from the Polish border, there is a growing sense that no place is safe in the country.

Trains packed with refugees depart night and day from Lviv. Mostly women and children, they are fleeing from every part of Ukraine in search of safe passage west. As the war touches more and more cities and with rockets hitting just 60 km (37 mi.) from the Polish border, there is a growing sense that no place is safe in the country.

Mike Logsdon
A father waves goodbye to his daughter as she departs to the safety of Poland

A father waves goodbye to his daughter as she departs to the safety of Poland. With men aged 18 to 60 years old barred from leaving the country, families must make the difficult decision to stay together and face a rapidly expanding conflict or split up and send the women and children across the border.

Mike Logsdon

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