Westport Photographer Travels to Poland & Captures the Spirit of the Ukrainian People
When Alexander Carrigg of Westport first saw the Russian invasion into Ukraine, he did what many of us would never even think of doing. He booked a ticket to Poland.
Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland by any means necessary, and Carrigg wanted to capture the raw emotions of the Ukrainian people to document this tumultuous and emotional time. Over a span of 10 days, Carrigg documented history.
A few years prior to the Russian invasion, Carrigg had documented 60 protests, a few riots around Massachusetts, and the riot at the Capitol. Being able to document history is what gives Carrig’s photography purpose.
Watching History Unfold at the Ukrainian Border
“I wanted to do something meaningful, and I wanted to do something international,” said Carrigg. “It just felt right. I bought a ticket and I headed straight to the border.”
Carrigg said the traveling experience was fairly simple, but between the humanitarian groups and the families looking for safety, it was certainly busy.
Carrigg kept his camera handy as history unfolded in front of his eyes, and some of the images he took, he will never forget.
“I think the shell-shocked children speak to me most,” he said.
Carrigg proudly accepted the role of making sure this moment was stamped in time by his emotional photography.
“Any photographer or journalist is trying to find the single image that goes beyond the current news cycle,” he said. “Certainly, the images collectively create a story and record of this historical moment.”
The Impact on Poland
Carrigg was able to witness first-hand the spirit of the Polish people and their selfless acts of generosity when it came to providing Ukrainians with shelter and hope.
“Every Polish person that I met ... they were housing Ukrainian refugees ... talking about the war. ... It was really moving,” he said.
But the toll the crisis was taking on the Polish people was clear. In Warsaw, Poland, crying faces were everywhere.
“Over 2 million people coming into a region in such a short amount of time, it’s overwhelming, said Carrigg.
The Most Memorable Moment for Carrigg
While Ukrainian men stay behind and fight, the area Carrigg documented was swarmed with women, children and infants.
“Sometimes it was just children crossing the border with infants. It’s a very sad sight,” he said.
While Carrigg acknowledges there are several incredible organizations putting forth humanitarian efforts, Americans, as a whole, have no idea what it’s actually like over there right now.
Carrigg hopes that the following photos give people insight into what it’s really like for Ukrainian refugees as women and children seek shelter and men stand behind to defend their country.