Katanya Timinsky is a Canadian photographer, videographer, and digital marketer—that has evolved into a photojournalist. Katanya was raised in Edmonton Alberta, where she went to school at McNally High School. Katanya also attended MacEwan University taking a course in photography and photojournalism and later became a Reaching For The Stars speaker at MacEwan University after her time in Ukraine. Her passion for photography has propelled her into creating her own business where she does photo and video work for weddings, cooperate business, and personal shoots—along with building and designing websites, she also is a digital marketer. Back in 2021, Katanya was propositioned by Mama Moya to go to Ukraine to capture images for the non-profit organization of the on-going Ukrainian War.
I jump on the plane, taking a flight from London to Hungary to Poland, and knowing full well, that I don’t fully know the extent of what I’m walking into. I’m on the train going into Ukraine, but there’s a young family that’s coming with us—right in the same cart and space. It looks like we’re just going into a place where I don’t even know what foreseeable danger there is. There are families and lots of people going in. So, it was nerve racking, but like kind of misleading as well. You feel like maybe it’s not as unsafe as people are saying on the mainstream media. And once I arrived at the train station, right off the very get go, there were air sirens going off, and no one was doing anything. It set the tone for the duration of my trip. It’s very triggering. It’s a very uncomfortable sound. They make it specifically uncomfortable, because the sound of the missiles, and the rockets aren’t like that at all. Rockets and missiles are more like airplanes. So, the air siren is supposed to disturb you on purpose—It’s like a very clear warning. I feel like there wasn’t really any measures for proper security and safety. When it comes to an actual attack, there’s not much you can do other than like, hide. When touring around Kyiv, we would go to certain areas, I had to mentally prepare myself—for what I’m going to see. When the war had broke out, and they had targeted the northwestern part of these different suburbs of Northwestern Kyiv. Their tanks could range 32 kilometers around that mark, and they specifically hit more of the suburbs as opposed to the downtown core. So you’d have to search around those neighborhoods to see a lot more of that destruction. But obviously it was used in a form of panic and control by hitting the people specifically and not damaging some of the more corporate buildings. When you’re going to different parts of the city, I would see spaces that were hit and big holes in the building and people still living amongst it.
I typically was capturing everything that I could, I came in quite respectfully. I was more coming from the angle of looking at their humanity and giving them the decency and respect of what they had just gone through. I would get candid shots and street photography of people in the moment, but I really tried to be conscientious of it. I would ask to take their photo, I would always be very grateful, and made sure I communicated the purposes of what I’m doing—my main vision and goal, even in my own personal work, not just with the organization—is to educate people in the West of what’s actually happening.
Listen to the YEG Yeller Podcast below for the full interview with Katanya Timinsky. She can be found on Instagram: @KatanyaTiminsky and also at her website https://www.katanyadesign.com/