Instagram Take-Over: Denis Vorobiov

Every Monday and Tuesday we show on our Instagram work of international students about family. With this Instagram Take-Over FOTODOK wants to give young makers a platform. This week we introduce Denis Vorobiov. Recently studying at the Instituto Europe di design Milan. The project of Denis ‘DON’T SAY MAMA’ is about the addicts in Ukraine who only lives for granted at the expense of their ‘earn children’. Try to imagine parents who give birth to have a donation from the government. Continue to read more about these ‘earn children’ in our interview with Denis Vorobiov.

“I’ve never seen so much sadness, as in the eyes of these children. Try to imagine some parents who give
Birth to have a donation from the government.”

1. Tell us something about the photos you are showing on our Instagram.
“Don’t say MAMA” is definitely the heaviest reportage I’ve done in the last five years, I have been in war conflict zones and witnessed many deaths but I have never seen so much sadness as in the eyes of these children, every picture was a blow in my soul. In Ukraine we have what is called “children farms” or “earn kids”, some parents have children just to have a small donation from the government, a subsidy that lasts until the kid has reached the age of 5, most of these parents are alcoholics, addicts, sadists and after the subsidy is finished these couples simply abandon their kids in the streets or put them away in a shelter, then the parents begin the process again and give birth to another unfortunate kid to not lose the government support. I have witnessed a four years old girl eating a three-days porridge with a cockroach in it. I have followed these cases with the Social Services Committee with the help of the police to capture some moments of these families and their fragmented lives in an attempt to draw attention to the imperfection of the Ukrainian law system regarding the children abuse that is being committed right now all over the country.

2. Which role does the idea of family play in your work?

This question was hard to answer. Firstly I want to show the relation between children and an evil environment around. How these parents influence on their young generation, what are the consequences in the future?!.  I have a son about 6 years old, for me as for father hard to see how this child still in worst condition during a long time. Probably main idea to show the real examples for the future families how it can be, with your kids, if you don’t be serious don’t stop to be alcoholic, addict or even more. To bring to Ukraine government how a worst economic situation in the country after the revolution, to wide open eyes on the social question in Ukraine.    

3. What is your favorite photo and could you tell us why?

My favourite picture, about the small girl standing on the table and looking at me. The story of that picture was incredible. We were coming together with police officer and social service workers to the one family, because neighbours heard children cry. Father in very difficult condition open door, he is very drunk and doesn’t understand what has happened. We coming inside, to the flat and I saw how small girl as animal immediately jump on the table and began looking on us. She was so afraid, she trembled and in her eyes was something incredible, I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt it. In this moment, I took a picture. What happened after that, it’s another big story.  
4. Can you tell us something about your first coming goal in future? 
If you asking me about future projects. It has two directions in the future. The first direction, I still working on the one big project about immigration. I know thousands of photographers showing this relevant on today topic and win many prizes. My story is opposite, and It’s nothing related to the news photography. More than one month I lived together with refugees and discover this story from Turkey coast to the Hungary and Italy borders. The main idea of my project to documenting all points of view on the Balkans way.  Many of refugees told me an incredible story from their hard trip from the middle-east to the new European home. I wonder about many questions about immigration before, and decide to found answered on the all question about immigration. Day by day I documented portrait, life, camps, prisons, borders and many different things related to the refugees crisis. I took many materials, mostly forbidden for many journalists. All mine projects I did together with MSF (Medicine Sans Frontiers) and they give me the pass to the many incredible places and situation. The idea to build a bridge between refugees and European society. They want to say something for European society, but nobody don’t hear them. I don’t ask a question, I just asking about one thing, if you want to tell and bring you story to the European community, did it. The second direction, a religious project about Exorcism in nowadays which I developing one year, it very hidden topic, base not he psychical distortion and religion. I took many incredible moments related to this topic, but the project is not completed and still open for me now.”