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The True Face of Bravery: War Heroes Captured on Film

James Hill has worked as a photographer for the New York Times in Russia for more than 20 years. Of the many photos he has taken, his portraits of veterans stand out.


This article originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines


For four years, he photographed veterans at Gorky Park on Victory Day. In 2010, he finished his project and published a book of the portraits, which was presented at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
For four years, he photographed veterans at Gorky Park on Victory Day. In 2010, he finished his project and published a book of the portraits, which was presented at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
This year, James Hill's photo project, Victory Day, will be on display in London for the first time
This year, James Hill's photo project, Victory Day, will be on display in London for the first time
James Hill: “The Great Patriotic War touched everybody in the Soviet Union. You go to any village, any city in western Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and you see the list of the dead. “
James Hill: “The Great Patriotic War touched everybody in the Soviet Union. You go to any village, any city in western Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and you see the list of the dead. “
"There were two particular reasons for my project: I was very interested in the women who fought in World War II because this was the greatest mobilization during wartime – over 500,000 women in the Soviet Union. "
"There were two particular reasons for my project: I was very interested in the women who fought in World War II because this was the greatest mobilization during wartime – over 500,000 women in the Soviet Union. "
"They served as nurses, radio operators, pilots and even snipers. In 2006, I only took photos of women. "
"They served as nurses, radio operators, pilots and even snipers. In 2006, I only took photos of women. "
"But then I saw very handsome old sailors and pilots and felt that I need to come back and work more. "
"But then I saw very handsome old sailors and pilots and felt that I need to come back and work more. "
“Because every Russian felt such respect towards them, it was hard for Russian photographers to work on this issue. There was no room for subjectivity. And if somebody would do it differently, it could be seen as a lack of respect. “
“Because every Russian felt such respect towards them, it was hard for Russian photographers to work on this issue. There was no room for subjectivity. And if somebody would do it differently, it could be seen as a lack of respect. “
“I came to the Soviet Union for the first time in 1991 and as I lived on and off here, I felt that veterans weren’t seen as individuals. They were more like icons in the Soviet and post-Soviet mentality. When I saw portraits of them, I always saw heroes. Of course they were not glamorized, but somehow polished.”
“As a foreigner, I felt I could add something to the way veterans are seen in Russia. “
“As a foreigner, I felt I could add something to the way veterans are seen in Russia. “

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