Forbidden Photos: A Presentation of the HREC Online Holodomor Photo Directory

28 April 2021




TIME: 11 AM (MDT, UTC-6) | 1 PM (EDT, UTC-4)



The online directory makes accessible more than one hundred photographs from the time of the Holodomor, most of them taken surreptitiously by foreigners in Ukraine in 1932–33.




Project Lead Lana Babij will reflect on the genesis of the project and issues in authenticating the photos. She is a retired academic librarian and independent researcher whose goal is to make authentic and factual resources on the Holodomor easily accessible to the broader public. Her particular interest is the photo documentation by outsiders about conditions in Ukraine during the first half of the 1930s. Her essays on photographers Alexander Wienerberger and Whiting Williams, as well as on the context of censorship, denial and propaganda at that time, appear in the HREC Holodomor Photo Directory.

Anastasia Leshchyshyn and Daria Glazkova will comment on their research into rare and haunting images by a local photographer that documents one family’s experience of the Famine. Anastasia Leshchyshyn served as the lead on the Holodomor Photo Directory project for HREC in her time as a HREC Research Associate. She holds an MA in European and Russian Affairs (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto) and is a PhD student in political science at McGill University. Daria Glazkova is a research assistant at HREC and assisted in preparing materials, including translations, for the Holodomor Photo Directory. She is an MA student at the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Samara Pearce will share her thoughts on the legacy of her great-grandfather, Alexander Wienerberger, and its impact on her as an artist and photographer. She has created work such as Masks of Holodomor, incorporating images of the Famine with her own photos taken in Ukraine. She is currently working on a book project about Wienerberger’s time in the USSR. Samara is holder of the copyright to Wienerberger’s Holodomor photos.

Nick Kupensky (United States Air Force Academy) will discuss the context of disbelief and denial in which the photos were taken. His research focus is the aesthetics and politics of manufactured landscapes in Russia, Ukraine, and the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Professor Kupensky is currently completing a monograph,  The Soviet Industrial Sublime: The Awe and Fear of DneproGES, 1927-1945, which analyzes the artistic, cinematic, journalistic, and literary representations of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, the largest dam in the world when it was built in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, in 1932.

Marta Baziuk, Executive Director of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) will serve as moderator.

The Photo Directory is an ongoing project and the result of cooperation between HREC (a project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta), Lana Babij, and OurDigitalWorld, which collaborates with libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and community groups to create sustainable digital collections.

The Photo Directory may be accessed at

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