Until February 24, he photographed ballerinas: how an artist became a soldier of the National Guard

·1 min read

Olena Barsukova

There are many creative people in the Ukrainian army: opera musicians, hip-hop artists, screenwriters and artists.

One of these creative soldiers, with the call sign Nebo [Sky - Ed.], serves in the ranks of the National Guard of Ukraine.

Before the full-scale invasion, Nebo was a photographer who shot mainly theatre artists and ballerinas.

"I love ballet very much. It is sacred to me. Portraits, people. I photographed a lot of girls from the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. I also worked with the Shevchenko Theatre," says Nebo.


Until 24 February, Nebo was a photographer. Photo: National Guard of Ukraine

Nebob had no experience of military service, but after a few days of full-scale war, he answered the call to defend Ukraine.

At first, the artist found himself in the infantry, but soon began to train as an artilleryman.

Now Nebo is behind the artillery sighting system day and night as an artillery commander.

The gun’s orientation, distance measurement, target fixing, and reconnaissance depend on him.

"His commands are clearly and steadily carried out by the fighters who enter the calculations. I can't believe that yesterday he photographed ballerinas in Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre,"  fellow fighters say.

The fighter photographed mainly ballerinas and theatre artists

Nebo and his wife are representatives of the creative profession.

"When the war started, we decided to stay at home for the first few days. I have a two-and-a-half year old child. On the fourth day of the war aviation actively began to work in Kharkiv," he recalls.

But when the family's home was hit by debris after an airstrike, the couple decided to take the child to safety.

"It was complicated to get to the railway station from Kharkiv Tractor Plant, a taxi didn’t work. And there was huge panic at the station," says Nebo.

Now a fighter with a creative past is a gun commander

The family spent the night at the train station for a day. Then they went to Ternopil and spent another 2 days at the station until volunteers helped the family resettle.

"I returned to Kharkiv and went from the train station to the military enlistment office. The next day I was in the army. Previously, I had nothing to do with the army. 

But now I have an incentive, a desire: my child was threatened, like hundreds of our other children. I won't stand for it!" says Nebo.

Even in war Nebo thinks in beautiful photographs

According to the soldier, war does not kill creative instincts. He still thinks in beautiful photographs.

However, according to the National Guardsmen, now Nebo is giving himself up to a new profession in order to bring Ukraine’s victory even closer.