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A Perfect Portrait

Now and then photographers take a picture that stands out in honesty, clarity, and composition. Clarity and composition can be judged by professionals, but others won't see the honesty a photographer sees because they don't know the subject(s). I took this picture. It is one such photograph. I know this family. Their faces reflect their character. The mother (Masha) works in the ecological sciences of water. Research lately has been about the quality of water in floods caused by the explosion of a dam in Ukraine. The son (Illia) is already scoring awards in Chess matches. Varya is 6. I've seen her at play with friends. She is simply, always her honest self. I don't want to read too much into what they are saying with expression, but if you put this picture on full-screen and look into their eyes, you will understand something about this family and about so many families in Ukraine. They are neither terrified nor enraged by what is happening in their country. Buildings are collapsing and people are dying from Russian rockets, cannon, and gunfire, but they are resolute and strong. They want to protect their children, keep their country, and live lives grounded in dignity, justice, and peace.

Below: More children from our week in Bulgaria near the Black Sea with families displaced by the war.


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