Author Archive for burn magazine

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Today is the last day @rrrudya is posting for the #Burndiary -this time from the #harbor city of Hamburg I’ve been to Hamburg twice – each time it was a spontaneous trip, which marked a beginning or an end of something very special for me. It is weird how we associate places with particular events or people of our lives and cannot get rid of a weird nostalgia – which can be a good or a bad thing- for the things we experienced seeing, smelling, touching and feeling on that particular spot at that particular moment. I am a very #romantic person, and for me this kind of place-related nostalgia has a very cinematic form. Sometimes it is #Bertolucci, sometimes #Almodovar but most often it is #Fellini in color. Today while I was biking through the streets of Hamburg, I had a very nostalgic mood indeed- a little bit happy, a little bit sad, longing for the things I haven’t experienced yet and not regretting the things I’ve done in the past. #germany #travel #nostalgia #beautyiswithin


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Wrrrooooom!!! The art of travel @rrrudya posting from the #autobahn #Berlin-#Hamburg for the #Burndiary Plans changed and I spontaneously decided to go to the beautiful city of Hamburg for the weekend. And look how lucky I am – late-life-crisis-manhood-substitute-chick-pick-up automobile happened to drive 70 km/h just next to our modest #Mercedes. Jokes aside – I love #traveling. One of the most important things I’ve learned from my dad, who unfortunately passed away 8 years ago, but still is my biggest #influence and #inspiration – things come and go, but your experiences will stay with you forever. Even when we didn’t have much money, he still tried to show me the world, taking me with him to environment-protection-from-the influence-of-ionizing-radiation conferences around Europe ( yes, he was a #nuclear physicist and yes he worked in #Chernobyl, where we also lived back in 1986). He was also a passionate photographer and I bet he would be active on Instagram if he was still alive. We traveled a lot together, but one last trip we planned long ago I had to make on my own this March. 18 years ago he went to #GrandCanyon with his friend Gregg. They took a video camera and filmed their trip. There is a take of him climbing over a fence at the canyon. He stood there on the edge of the cliff, fearlessly facing the emptiness before him. Then he turned to the camera and said “Alina, one day we will come here together”. We never did. This year, I finally visited Gregg in #LasVegas. We took his #corvette and drove all the way to the #GrandCanyon. I climed over the fence and stood on that cliff for a while. Then we went to a local bar and raised our glasses to the memory of a great man – my father Constantine. #inmemoriam #family #travel #onlyingermany #whatisthiscar

Dreaming is what keeps my life meaningful.

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Never stop @rrrudya reporting from #Berlin for the #Burndiary. I still remember the feeling when I was leaving Berlin in 2007 after a year spent there without knowing if I will ever come back. After the plane took off, I looked out of the window and as we were flying away I could see Berlin’s famous TV-tower shining in the light of the setting sun. I cried. For two years I wasn’t living – I was waiting to come back. It is a very exhausting feeling – to wait for your real life to start. I got my MA in journalism meanwhile, but I also knew that I only have one life to live and I don’t want to spend it adjusting to the circumstances only to get a mid-life crisis at the age of 30. When I was accepted to a #photography program and finally got my visa, I was the happiest person on Earth. For the first couple of hours. Then I understood, that it is not the accomplishments, which satisfy me, but the feeling of having a GOAL. My grandpa, who grew up during the war, once told me, that his goal at the time was to eat enough bread. He grew up, studied really hard and got an ingeneering degree from the best technical university in Kiev. Then, at the age of 28 he fulfilled his childhoods dream – he had enough bread to eat. He was very proud of accomplishing his goal, but he stopped dreaming. He is still alive now, aged 85 and he is a great man, who lived a life full of hard work and tragic losses (he outlived both of his sons- my uncle and my father), but he never tried harder than he did back in the 50s, when he was a hungry 20-something young man from a small village with one pair of shoes and no money. As for me – I cannot stop dreaming. As soon as I get what I want, I set a new goal and then a new one and this is how it will be till my last day. Dreaming is what keeps my life meaningful. Working for my dreams is what makes me ME. Never stop #lifegoal #inspiration #symbolic #thattoweragain #fernsehturm

chloe meunier – london portraits

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Chloé Meunier

London Portraits

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These series of portraits were taken in London, the city where I used to live. This city was my home for only a few years. For the first couple of months I was there, I started to take portraits in the street with the person’s consent. People were not adverse to having their image captured. Then I started to meet some people who would let me come into their homes where we would take their portrait. Through photography I have met many people. Each of them helped me to understand a bit more of the transcultural occurence taking place within London. Even though this area attracts people from all over the world, my interest stayed concentrated on people belonging to diasporas that share a past and history with the United Kingdom: Irish, Caribbean, Nigerian and British.



Chloé Meunier is a photographer who comes from the French countryside close to the Belgian border. She studied photography in Brussels and is currently living in London where she works in the events industries in both London and Paris.

Her main area of expertise is documentaries. “I am passionate and fascinated by people; their way of life, their stories, their difficulties, their historic relationships, as well as their society and its perpetual changes,” Chloé says.

“Showing their everyday life is a way for me to try and create an understanding and a connection between them and the people who will see their stories. I also apply this concept to other areas of my photography.”

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Chloé Meunier

A Beautifully Boring District

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Berlin-Charlottengrad Alina Rudya aka @rrrudyareporting from the streets of #Berlin for the #Burndiary Today I went to the library in #Charlottenburg, upscale neighborhood in the West, nicknamed #Charlottengrad for the amount of Russian immigrants living there. It is a beautifully boring district with pretty old houses, fancy and chic #Kurfürstendamm, a castle, expensive restaurants and almost absent night-life. If you are a young person who moved to Berlin, because you’ve heard oh-so-much about how cool Berlin is, most definitely you will never set your foot in Charlottenburg. I wanted to give you a glimpse of some local luxury or at least a snapshot of a drunk bear playing a #balalaika while drinking #vodka, but got this absolutelly #EdwardHopper lit shot of a woman striding down the Fasanenstrasse #red #americanrealism #streetphotography

football match

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@rrrudya is reporting from the crazy glorious for Germany football match viewing in #Berlin for the Burn diary. Honestly, I won’t write you a ling story here. You can see from the face of my friend Abigail, that she is an American and couldn’t care less about that game of “soccer” everyone else is so crazy about:) #football #FIFA #brazil

The King

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The king is tired of ruling the world and demands cookies and milk. @rrrudya here, reporting from the German capital. I live in the district of #Prenzlauerberg, former part of the East Berlin, which started developing after the wall fell and after being a hippie-transitioning-cool kind of place it slowly turned into an upper-middle class neighborhood full of organic shops, vegan cafes, upscale bars and vintage stores. It is also famous for being a very children-friendly part of town. As one of my friends once said “you can get pregnant just from drinking tap water in Prenzlauerberg”. I hope she was joking. #berlin #streetphotography #children

Unconventional Self-Portrait

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Hello, everyone! Alina Rudya aka @rrrudya is here, taking over the feed for this week. I am a Ukrainian photographer and graphic designer. Originally I am from #Kiev ( or #Kharkiv or even #Chernobyl, depends on the perspective) currently living in #Berlin, Germany. I would depict my work as more of a “personal essay” genre. I will start with my own unconventional self-portrait hidden in a dangerous but also empowering proximity of the décolletage of Germany’s most powerful woman. #angelamerkel #burndiary #germany

So Long, and Thank You. Дякую. Спасибо.

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Self Portrait

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Self portrait by @_opasno For Burn Diary My last days in Ukraine were spent holed up in a damp hostel on the outskirts of Kyiv, laid low with bronchitis, and spending hours every day on the phone with low-level military press officials trying to talk my way onto a base to interview men who had been mobilized, while a faded portrait of Yuri Gagarin stared down at me from a corner where an icon used to hang. Much to my disappointment, my persistence still failed me, and I left without the footage I needed to finish the project. . . I spent so much time before I left New York preparing myself for Ukraine: studying field safety guides, planning exit routes, reading local papers and military analysis of the conflict, talking to friends on the ground. But what I hadn’t prepared for was coming back home. I held my friend’s hands, kissed her cheeks, told her to be strong. I got on a plane.  And the next morning, I was having brunch in Brooklyn, while she was still wondering what would happen to her family.  I picked up my dry cleaning. I bought a new swim suit. How could I be doing this while so much else is happening elsewhere? I went to church that Sunday, and could barely keep it together after well-meaning friends each greeted me with the question, “How was Ukraine?!? You must have had so much fun!” . . . It’s the hardest part of modern life–compartmentalizing things so we don’t fall apart from information overload or trauma fatigue. I’m still learning how to cope with my own helplessness in the face of so much suffering. I realized all I can do is be there to witness, and the tell the story of what I saw to those who will listen. . . . I’ve come to the end of my time here at Burn Diary, and want to thank you all for following along, for listening to these stories.  You can keep up with me on my journo/photo handle @_opasno or my brunch-and-kara-walker personal handle @ecce_b . Contact info is on my website, linked in my profile.


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“They said it’d be 10 days. He’s been gone 53.” Photo by Erin Brown @_opasno for Burn Diary . . . I was sitting in a wood-paneled meeting hall in the municipal building of Koval, in Western Ukraine, watching as more than 200 wives and mothers of men who had mobilized had it out in an open-mic shouting match with their local MP, Stepan Ivakhiv.  A well-built man in an elegantly cut suit, with an open face and slide-rule sharp part, Ivakhiv is a gasoline and dairy magnate who spun the oligarch wheel in the 1990s and came out on top.  He’s a man worth over $200 million dollars representing a region where it’s not uncommon to earn a salary of $200 a month. . . . It was bold of him to agree to the meeting, and he was taking the verbal beating with more grace than I would have expected. He fielded questions from the stage, seated behind a great oak podium, with three other local officials and a member of the military, while the crowd teemed below him, jostling one another to get to the microphone. . . . This much became clear, very quickly: several hundred men from Koval and the surrounding area had been called up in the mobilization.  They’d been told they’d serve for 10 days, preparing equipment in nearby Rivne, and be sent home. Then it was extended to 45 days, and families started losing touch with the men very suddenly—only to find out they’d been sent to Donetsk to fight.  For most, the 45 days had come and gone weeks before.  Military ‘salary’ was not being paid. Men were living in abhorrent conditions.  Ivakhiv had little by way of an answer for it. . . . A young blonde with overlarge blue eyes and long acrylic nails got up: “He was in Donetsk for three weeks, and I didn’t hear a word. My little girl cried all night, ’tata! tata!’ [‘daddy’]. When I heard from him next, he said they’d only been given a liter of water to drink each day…it was over 30 degrees!” She burst into tears and begged for Ivakhiv to send her husband home. Ivakhiv looked genuinely pained, and at a complete loss. “I am so sorry,” he staggered, “I can’t.”


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Photo by Erin Brown @_opasno for Burn Diary. . . We raced a summer thunderstorm out of Kyiv and rode six hours in a packed minibus to Rivne, to see my friend’s sister-in-law who is pregnant with her first child. At church the next morning I sat in the hallway and talked to a young father of four who participated in the local uprising in Rivne. “I was at a checkpoint out on the highway late at night in February,” he told me, “When a jeep with Lviv plates came through. I asked the driver where they were coming from. He said, ‘Kyiv.’ I shone a flashlight in the back and saw the most bizarre thing–a young man sitting up so stiff, with huge piles of blankets on either side of him. It took me a few seconds to realize–he was dead. He had been killed on Maidan. They were taking his body home.” He called his wife and told her he was leaving that night for Kyiv. Later, when I asked her how she felt about that, she said “I have never been more proud…even my kids understood the importance, the girls built a town and barricades out of Legos and gave each other assignments to protect different spots. ‘Here, you guard the house, and I’ll guard the church.’” . . . We left that night for the fields. My friend’s in-laws live in a two room farmhouse in a tiny hamlet 25 miles outside of Lutsk. It’s NatGeo country to the max: babushki in headscarves hauling water, young men cutting tall grasses w scythes. A horse cart came to collect us about halfway through the five-mile walk in from the road. . . . My friend’s mother-in-law said she’d heard about my story, and could help, but we had work to do first. She handed us work gloves, and we headed out to the potato field to get some weeding done.


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Two members of the Right Sector spar with wooden knives outside their tent on the Maidan in June.  Photo by Erin Brown @_opasno for Burn Diary . . All over the encampment on the Maidan, donation boxes sit perched outside of the tents, bearing hand-scratched signs. Most are asking for money for food, but a few honest ones read “For smokes” or “We need a drink.” Crowds of what I can only call war tourists have started flocking to the square, snapping photos and taking video, and the encampment has discovered a new brand of busking—sparring for money. . . . The men are either comically inept at fighting (it’s no small wonder most of them didn’t want to head to Donetsk to fight actual combatants) or unsettlingly adroit at it, like the two men pictured here. Their fight unfolded at a breathtaking speed as they weaved and dodged and twisted in and out of one another’s grips. There was a striking intimacy and immediacy to it—the kind of urgent energy that comes with a close-contact conflict. It was hard not to draw an analogy with the struggle the whole country is embroiled in right now. . . . Their fight left me wondering where someone learns hand-to-hand combat like that, so I stuck around after the fight ended and the crowd thinned out to ask. Turns out, I didn’t need to: one of the men settled down in a plastic lawn chair and cracked open a tepid beer, his hands no longer moving fast enough to conceal prison tattoos.Follow


Ukrainian Folk Costume

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A young girl wearing a Vinok, a wreath of poppies that is part of traditional Ukrainian folk costume, explores the wreckage of the barricades and tent city on the Maidan in central Kyiv while a dissenter in camouflage relaxes outside his tent. Photo by @_opasno for Burn Diary. It’s hard to describe how surreal the Maidan feels these days. I’ve spent a lot of time in Kyiv in the past five or six years–I was a missionary in Russia in 2008-2009 and lived and worked with a lot of Ukrainians who have grown into lifelong friends. Almost every summer, we all convene in Kyiv or spend a few weeks in Crimea. This time it was different. . The rest of central Kyiv is untouched, still beautiful. But you turn the corner onto the Maidan, and it’s like walking onto a movie set of an uprising between takes: a backdrop of charred buildings and walls of tires, a barricade of twisted metal, and men in camo milling around like extras, waiting for someone to yell “action!” Nothing is happening. It’s become a tourist attraction, for locals and foreigners alike. Families take an evening walk through the square and pose stoically for snapshots with a tank, or a shrine to those who were killed. Souvenir stands have popped up hawking flower wreaths and anti-Putin trucker hats. Donation boxes sit next to each tent and the men hustle you for a few hryvnya if you point you camera their way…. . A note: wonky connectivity and a crazy schedule kept me from posting here while I was still in Ukraine, but I’ll be sharing images from my last week of the journey, and some shots of what I’m up to in NYC this week as I’m putting my life back in order after being on the road for so long. Hope you enjoy!

Rio de Janeiro. World Cup.



yurian quintanas nobel – happy nothing

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Yurian Quintanas Nobel

Happy Nothing

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The desert represents decay and death. There is a scarcity of water and shade, extreme temperatures, and a lack of resources for humans to survive on. At the same time there is a long tradition of the desert as a place of healing, both physically and spiritually. With the Californian desert as a background, “Happy Nothing” delves into the lives of its inhabitants and its secrets. Here is where ex-convicts, war veterans, retirees and people that for some reason have decided to stay outside of society live. In these towns there is no running water, the houses are in ruins, the streets unpaved, no street lighting, there are no supermarkets or entertainment infrastructures, but despite living in these conditions, they call it the Paradise.

Consumerism, competitiveness and success are symbols of happiness in the First World, but is it real happiness? Are we happier the more material goods we have? Or perhaps happiness is measured by the amount of time we have to appreciate the world around us?



Yurian Quintanas Nobel was born in Amsterdam in 1983. He is currently living in Catalunya Yurian. His personal photographic projects focus on documenting people and their environment. After studying a specialization course in photojournalism at IDEP (Barcelona), he had the opportunity to assist recognized photographers from National Geographic including Tino Soriano and Annie Griffiths Belt.

In the last years Yurian has won awards and fellowships including: the 1st prize of the Vanguardia Magazine, (2007), the scholarship of the “XIII International Meetings Gijon photojournalism” (2009), and an honorable mention in the “Travel Photographer of the Year” (2011).


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Yurian Quintanas Nobel



Kuukpik River

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This morning about 6:00 AM, Jonah Nukapigak put out a net on the Kuukpik River for the first time this season. He had hoped to catch a good number of the big whitefish called anaaqliq so he could prepare them for the whale feast tomorrow . He went back this evening with his nephew Isaiah came along to help. There was only one fish and the net was filled with silt, so he pulled it. He will put it back out in July. Once the season is underway, he will typically catch 30 to 40 a day. The Kuukpik is also known as the Coleville River.#kuukpik #colevilleriver #nuiqsut #arctic #alaska