Ukraine War Photographer: ‘People Don’t Believe the Pictures are Real’

a damaged building in Kyiv
A damaged building in Kyiv after a Russian missile attack | Deposit Photos

A Getty Images photographer working in Ukraine says he is “infuriated” when people don’t believe his photos are real.

In an interview with British news outlet inews, Chis McGrath says he takes “significant risk to take people where they can’t go.”

“I have had a lot of pushback coming from Russian accounts,” he tells inews. “Sometimes people don’t believe that the pictures are real. That infuriates me, 100 percent. I saw what was happening in front of me.”

Documenting History

McGrath’s Instagram page serves as a series of short stories that spotlight the terrible war that’s taken place since Russia invaded Ukraine country almost a year ago.

Warning: Some of the below photos from McGrath’s Instagram page contain graphic war scenes.

McGrath, who has been in the Eastern European country for much of the last 12 months, describes the war as “absolutely pointless.”

“Each time I go back to Ukraine I am questioning myself: Why am I going back now? What can I do? I am asking myself this question tonight,” he says.

“I couldn’t believe that anybody would allow it to happen. Yet it did. We watch documentaries [about conflict] on Netflix and we still go into a war?”

Tolerance of Graphic Images

As noted by inews, the media has not been shy in showing pictures of graphic injuries and even corpses.

“The internet, especially the Wild West nature of social media, has probably increased the public’s tolerance for graphic images,” says Jay Davies, Getty’s director of news photography.

“That tolerance is context-dependent. There’s a difference between what people expect to see on the front page and what they expect on slide three of an Instagram gallery behind a ‘graphic content’ warning.”

McGrath says that war in 2022 means that his hard-hitting pictures get an almost immediate response.

“When I put a picture out, the reaction to it is intense, more than you saw with traditional media before that — your picture would run on the front page of a newspaper but now it’s instantaneous,” he says. “You reach an audience that you couldn’t have reached before.”

More of McGrath’s photos can be found on his Instagram.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.