In Kiev, the Euromaidan Revolution Will Be Instagrammed

At least thirteen people died in Kiev in clashes between protesters and police Tuesday, making this the most violent day in Ukraine's nearly three-month-long "Euromaidan" demonstrations against the policies of President Viktor Yanukovich. 

The clashes on Tuesday came after a relative lull in the protests. On Monday, children played in Independence Square, which is known in Ukraine as the Maidan, and vendors operated souvenir stands. But the standoff intensified after Russia announced Monday it would make another $2 billion available to Ukraine as part of a $15 billion loan program that has stoked anger among protesters, who see the deal as a move to draw Ukraine closer into Moscow's orbit. The situation grew violent as protesters marched on parliament Tuesday, touching off back and forth battles with police. Protesters in gas masks and makeshift riot gear rallied and threw stones. A video uploaded to Instagram shows riot police tossing Molotov cocktails from rooftops onto protesters. Barricades were set on fire, sending black plumes of smoke over the city.

The dramatic scenes on the streets of Kiev have been well-documented by traditional media, but also by the protesters on the ground, who have uploaded hundreds of photos of Tuesday's protests to Instagram. We've collected some of those images here using a geolocation tool developed by Chris Keller. This is what the last 24 hours have looked like through the eyes and iPhones of Kiev's protesters:



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On the side of Hrushevskogo Street in Maidan Square, just next to the barricades and the swarm of protesters there was a bus stop. There was snow on the ground and the space looked a bit cramped, but it was as good a place as any to arrange a small, makeshift photo booth. Which is what photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind did by hanging a black backdrop from the bus stop's roof so she could take portraits of the protesters in Kiev.

Most of Taylor-Lind's work is portraiture, and she was in Ukraine last week as part of another project -- a personal venture centered on population decline in Europe. The work, as she described it from her home in London during a phone interview, has a roving, encompassing scope, one that looks at everything from hospice care to the younger generations' sense of disenchantment. The majority of the countries she has (and will be) visiting are, as she describes, transitional countries, formerly under Communist rule and struggling with systemic, deep-rooted problems. Photographing the protesters in Kiev was a loose but natural fit.

With a stand-off between police and protesters, the air in the square was calm. "Morale is relatively high," says Taylor-Lind, "guys are camped out sitting around fires. People are bringing food, civilians are coming to visit. Women have put the colors of the Ukrainian flag in their hair or flowers. Children wear flags or child-sized military helmets."

She was struck by what the protesters were wearing, how they'd pieced together their own kind protester's uniform -- unofficial, yes, but distinctly militaristic. Many of the men wore black bomber jackets and black helmets. They carried homemade weapons and shields. Most everything and everyone was covered in a black soot. With the help of her fixer, Taylor-Lind stopped passersby and asked if they wouldn't mind having their picture taken. Of the hundred or so people they asked, 98 said yes.   

Taylor-Lind was shooting with her Bronica, a camera that is held down by the waist and whose photographs she won't see until she develops the film. But one of her colleagues crafted an arm so that her iPhone is poised above the viewfinder, recording everything that she sees through the camera's lense. The view captured in the resulting videos (above and below) is unique, the effect haunting and beautiful -- literally moving pictures. And though the viewer is now two lenses away from her subjects, the sensation is that we are somehow more connected, not only to the protesters but to Taylor-Lind. We see what she sees. We hear what she hears. We witness the moment she exposes the frame. This is the way, she says, she's seen the world for the last 10 years.

Above, Taylor-Lind poses with anti-government protesters in Maidan Square on Feb. 7.

Credit: Anastasia Taylor-Lind