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Ukrainian Railroad Ladies

© Sasha Maslov

Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is a series of portraits of people who work as traffic controllers and safety officers at railroad crossings in Ukraine. They spend their long shifts in the little houses built along the tracks specifically for them. It’s a series that studies Ukrainian rural and suburban landscapes where the exteriors of these railroad houses play a prominent role. It's looking into the intimate details of the interiors and invites the viewer to meet the Railroad Ladies themselves. This project is also an exploration of why this profession still exists in the 21st century, given the almost full automatization of railroad crossings in Ukraine and around the world. It’s a study of the anthropological and social aspects of this profession and the role and importance of the railroad in general in Ukraine.

The country has been consumed by political turmoil: a war in the East and loss of its territory to an aggressive neighbour, never mind the endless corruption and permanently troubled economy. In Ukraine, people pay little attention to the women they see from a train window, standing and most often holding a folded yellow flag (a sign to the train engineer that all is well on the tracks ahead).

And although the country and the world are consumed with much larger issues, the people with folded yellow flags play a big, yet silent role in Ukrainian everyday life.

In the storm, it’s often hard to see the lighthouse. Ukrainian Railroad Ladies are that lighthouse. They are a symbol of certain things in this country that don’t change, standing firm in the present as a defiant nod to the past. Unfazed by the passing of trains and time, they are here to stay

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

Publisher: Osnovy Publishing
ISBN: 9789665008583
Publication year: 2020
Number of pages: 128
Size: 165x210mm
Cover: hardcover / clothbound

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