Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Although I still continue the drug story, I started an essay on the steel industry in Ukraine. It's Ukraine's major industry, but it's been struggling due to competition with cheaper Chinese and Russian counterparts. Many workers have been laid off or work only a few times a week. Meanwhile, some small old factories somehow thrive and operate as they have been doing for a century. This old steel smelting factory produces sewer material like manhole covers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some Portraits

I've been busy with some other stuff these days... Here are some portraits of Sasha, Tanya and Dima with holga.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Sasha was out of jail for a few hours when he had to go to hospital for treatment for gastric ulcer, which is a common side effect for drug users. His common law wife Ira and father came to the prison's entrance to meet him for a short period of time.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Tanya Rasoshik runs the only charity organization that provides shelter, food, clothes, pampers and education to children in need in Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine. A British charity fund provided financial support for the organization, but the charity told Tanya that it would stop the support soon. She takes care of children of parents in extreme poverty, and most of their parents are drug addicts or alcoholic. Those parents don't even have money to buy foods, let alone clothes and electricity. Tanya often wash children's body and cut their hair to get rid of lice. She goes out on the street and provides clothes and foods for street children and tell them to come to the shelter. She goes to children's hospitals and provide pampers for abandoned babies and clothes and foods for sick orphans because the public hospital can't even afford pampers for those children. However, without financial help, she would not be able to do as much support as she has been doing. If she couldn't run the shelter, many children would have to stay at home without electricity or wonder around the street with dirty clothes and lice on their hair, which could cause them to become like street children. I haven't pitched this kind of story or worked with NGO/charities. If you have any idea how to spread words to help them out or good organizations to contact to, let me know.

Tanya washes the body of Vitalik, 4, after she cut his hair.

Children's pictures. Tanya said many children changed after coming to the shelter often. she said one little girl who she found in the park now works a normal job and has a family years after she met Tanya and came to the shelter daily.

Children play at the shelter.

Tanya visits many families with no money and provides foods for their children.

Foods provided for children at the shelter.

Nurse feeds abandoned babies at Children's hospital. Tanya comes to the hospital to provide pampers for babies because the hospital can't afford it. The nurse said the hospital has about 100 babies a year, and their parents are usually alcoholic or drug addicts.

Alyona, 15, holds her baby. She regularly comes to the shelter. She gave birth recently, but she would have to raise the baby alone. Her mother is alcoholic, and they live in a dire condition.

Alyona visits the shelter while her baby is asleep at the hospital. The foreground is Dima, 4, whose father is Vietnamese, but the father left his Ukrainian wife and four children and went back to his country.

Tanya dresses Vitalik after washing him in the bathroom

Tanya sprays to kill lice on the hair.

Vitalik and his brother Serghei, 1, after haircut.

Andrei, 4, has HIV and temporarily stays at Children's hospital in Dniprodzerzhynsk. He was an orphan, but a family adapted him. However, after the family found out that he has HIV, the family "returned" him. He is supposed to go to an orphanage for children with HIV in Dnipropetrovsk later.

Tanya hugs a girl who regularly comes to the shelter when they accidentally met at the hospital.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm still following the con and drug addict Sasha and his wife, Ira. She finally gave birth. Sasha is still in prison.

My website changed a bit - bigger pictures. It still has some problems, and we have to add clicking-on-picture-navigation etc.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

renewed website

My ukraine friend worked on my site... Let me know what you think if you have time. I think it looks better than the one I had before. It's not done yet, though.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Correction Center

In the past week, I was out of Ukraine to get my old slow laptop stored in Romania because my laptop was broken... It's fixed now, but this is a drawback living away from the States or maybe Japan. Laptop is expensive here. I ended up having it repaired in Kiev, but it still takes 8-10 hours to get to Kiev by Train. To Bucharest, it took 30 hours from Kiev. Train is cheap, but it was a long trip... Ukraine is a big country,
Here is a photo from a correction center for drug addicts and alcoholics. It's fonded by the U.S. Church. They study Christianity and live there to get out of their addiction.

Friday, October 17, 2008


He is a 0 year old. His mother is a HIV-infected, but it is unchear whehther he has HIV. Even if a mother has HIV, many new-born children could be born without HIV. But, breast milk would easily tramsmit HIV. However, many poor pregnant mothers go to hospital in the very last minute, and they can't really test their children.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ira & Vania

I thought it's a bit confusing to put this picture for the last post, but after I looked at it again and heard others' opinions, I feel this one is better. Anyway, life is very unstable and complicated for them. Sasha's common-law wife Ira is waiting for time to give birth with her first son Vania at home without electricity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sasha (Con) is Gone Again

Sasha is back to prison. When I came back to photograph, he was already gone. It was a bit complicated why it happened, but he is now behind the bar again before his wife gives birth. These are pictures shot while he was enjoying the freedom for a little while. His wife is left with her first son in her mother's apartment where they don't have electricity.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


This is a drug addict Sidik's finger. He cut it by himself when his blood circulation had a problem due to overdose.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sasha the Con

It was weird when I met him again - he is the same guy as the one I photographed at the arresting scene... So, we wondered what the hell was going on. Well, his wife is giving a birth soon, and he is allowed to stay with her for a while. And, after the baby is born, he is supposed to go back to the prison. He is actually pretty nice, and let me follow him.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

HIV Endemic

There are a lot of families who are all infected with HIV in Ukraine. Some people with HIV don't think much about what would happen. Some people are in self-denial to accept the fact that they have HIV. But, if those people make children, they will be born with HIV.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Dima, 30, has been taking narcotic since 1993. He is living with her 5 year old daughter and parents. The drug caused the lack of calcium, and he broke his bones a couple years ago. His immune system was also affected, and he got bone cancer and the swollen jaw. He also broke his left leg, and since then he can't walk fast anymore. He is now unemployed and still takes drug.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sasha Again

He gets treatment for wounded legs from his mom, 72. Sasha is 51, but his mother looks younger.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Drug - Arrest

I'm basically doing this project to show how bad the drug is. Druggies know it's bad, but they do because they have nothing else to do - no job, no document, no money, no fun etc etc. It also causes worse things like the spread of HIV by needle sharing. And, some of them get arrested, spend time in prison and again go back with some exceptions. Police are doing something, but there are too many to deal with. Here is the scene of a druggie getting arrested. He is 28 old and taking drug for about 10 years. When he gets arrested, I asked a question, for which answer would be pretty obvious. I asked if he regrets taking drug, sure he said yes. But, it doesn't mean that he would quit and do something after getting out the prison a few years later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Drug

Some more drug scenes. One of them, Andrei, 32, is a drug addict, dealer and cooker. He started drug in 1992 during the chaotic time in Ukraine after the Soviet Collaps. "I'm a veteran, so to speak" he said. He said he makes money for drug by selling, cooking, teaching "newbies," gambling and "ripping off" people. "I don't care about life," he said.