Portraits of Traditional Ukrainian Outfits Highlight the Country’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Ukraine Heritage Photos

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has gone from days to weeks, sites of cultural significance have been leveled by attacks. The cultural heritage of Ukraine is under siege, and photographer Anna Senik is one creative who is showing what’s at risk of destruction. Her portraits, which she describes as “ethno-photography,” feature people wearing traditional garments that showcase Ukraine’s visual heritage, from headwear to jewelry to patterned dresses.

All of the outfits featured in Senik’s work are authentic, sourced from private collections as well as museums. She has worked with ethnographers, costumers, collectors, and assistants to create a catalog of ensembles that showcase customary motifs, floral headbands, and colorful beaded jewelry. It preserves the visual culture of Ukraine while celebrating the beauty of tradition.

Senik has been a photographer for over 10 years, but like many in Ukraine, she has chosen to pivot and serve in the Armed Territorial Defense and help protect her country during the Russian invasion. “Last year (or rather even a year and a half) was very happy for me,” she recalls to My Modern Met. “I focused only on art. There was a lot of inspiration, work, and travel for my team. In 2021, we made 33 series! Looking back, I realize how valuable and wonderful this time was.”

Senik is unsure of when she will be able to return to making art. “In the current conditions, it is impossible,” she says. “I evacuated my photo archive to a safe place and dedicated myself to the struggle for the freedom of my country. That was the only possible solution for me. But I really miss the opportunity to take photos. It was the meaning of my life, and I look forward to victory and peace to get it back.”

Although Senik is on hiatus from her portraits, she is using her photography skills as a way to show what’s going on in Ukraine from the perspective of her military operations. Follow her on Instagram for updates.

Photographer Anna Senik highlights Ukraine's visual heritage with her series of “entho-photography.”

Traditional Ukraine OutfitsTraditional Ukraine Outfits

Her portraits feature people wearing traditional outfits, from headwear to jewelry to patterned dresses.

Traditional Ukraine Outfits

All of the outfits featured in Senik’s work are authentic, sourced from private collections as well as museums. She has worked with ethnographers, costumers, collectors, and assistants to create a catalog.

Ukraine Heritage PhotosTraditional Ukraine OutfitsTraditional Ukraine OutfitsTraditional Ukraine Outfits

Senik has been a photographer for over 10 years, but like many in Ukraine, she has chosen to pivot and serve in the Armed Territorial Defense and help protect her country during the Russian invasion.

Ukraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosUkraine Heritage PhotosTraditional Ukraine Outfits

She is using her photography skills as a way to show what’s going on in Ukraine from the perspective of her military operations. Follow her on Instagram to see updates.

Ukraine Heritage Photos

Anna Senik

Anna Senik: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Anna Senik.

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Beautiful Portraits of Modern Women Giving New Meaning to Traditional Ukrainian Crowns

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40 Powerful Photos of Daily Life During the Ukraine Crisis

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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