VII Weekly | June 15, 2018

Aleksey Agapin, 14, from Vozdvyzhenka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on November 29, 2017. Aleksey lost a thumb and two fingers when a grenade plug he found exploded in his hand. ?It was in summer, I was going to the pond with my friends to swim there. As we were walking there was a convoy of military passing and some? thing? fell off one of the cars. I wasn?t sure what that thing was, it looked like it could be a pen.? Aleksey says. ?I picked it up and touched it when it exploded in my hands. My first feeling was shock and pain. I looked down and saw the fingers were hanging from my hand.? ?My whole life has changed.? He continues, ?I can?t do everything I could do before without my fingers, but I?m getting used to it. It?s still hard to do some things. I can?t chop the wood, it?s hard to tie the fishing line, and it?s hard to set the traps to catch animals. Sometimes I?m getting upset up until the moment when I break into tears.? ?There?s a game we play at school,? Aleksey says quietly ?you have to do everything with your right hand in it, and I just couldn?t, so I felt like starting to cry. I?m learning how to write with my left hand, it?s not very good yet, but I?m trying. At home, for two years, there?s no water, no electricity and no gas. The family heats their home using firewood chopped outside in temperatures as low as -20 degrees. Military positions at the end of the street regularly exchange small arms and anti aircraft fire with separatists just across the line of control, and the deep thuds of outgoing and incoming shells are heard throughout the day. In addition to these challenges, both Aleksey?s parents are unemployed, and alcoholics. His father worked in a coal mine until a ceiling collapsed on him in 1996, breaking his back. With almost no money for food, the children fish in ponds and use traps and dogs to catch rabbits to eat. (Photo by Ashley Gilbertson / VII Photo for UNICEF)

Featured Story: Children on the Line

by Ashley Gilbertson / VII for UNICEF

Two years ago, Aleksey was heading to the pond when he picked up an object that had fallen from a passing military convoy. He thought it was a pen, he said, until it exploded up in his hand. “My first feeling was shock and pain,” Aleksey says, “I looked down and saw the fingers were hanging from my hand. My whole life changed. I can’t chop the wood, it’s hard to tie the fishing line, and it’s hard to set the traps to catch animals. Sometimes I’m getting upset up until the moment when I break into tears.” This is Europe today.

News & Education

Maggie Steber spoke to Ben Smith on A Small Voice Podcast about changing career directions, education, Haiti, the warrior ethos, and her alter ego, “Lily LaPalma.”

Nichole Sobecki was awarded silver in the “Prix de la Photographie, Paris” (P×3) “Feature Story” category for her project “A Climate for Conflict.”

Tomas van Houtryve appeared as a guest judge on SKYTV’s Master of Photography. Stay tuned this season for more guest appearances by VII photographers.

The Open Call for the VII Masterclass in Warsaw ended today. Selected participants will be notified directly, and their names will be published on the VII Masterclass webpage and VII Photo Agency’s social media accounts before the beginning of the Masterclass. Check out more upcoming workshops below!

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