Searching for Pokémon
People have always been the central fascination of world-renowned photographer Alexander Chekmenev. He photographs elites for Forbes magazine by day, and misfits and homeless people by night. Chekmenev’s hometown in the east of Ukraine has been under occupation of pro-Russian separatist groups since 2014. He moved to Kyiv years before the war started but the city has never truly been his home. Even his apartment almost resembles a hotel suite.
In February 2021 Chekmenev is going through his archives to prepare photo prints for a charity auction. Filed together with his most recognizable photo — a girl posing with a Pokemon mask — he spots the face of the same girl, but in this image, she wears no mask. This sparks a journey to the home he has lost in the only active war zone in Europe. By collecting memories from people in his home region, perhaps, piece by piece, he can reconstruct and reclaim his lost homeland.