Photographer Tom Jamieson produced a series of portraits of the homemade weapons carried by the protesters in Maidan Square, Ukraine.
They don’t look like any weapon you’d craft in an Elder Scrolls game, but the weapons carried by protesters in Ukraine are just as effective. Photographer Tom Jamieson traveled to Ukraine for two weeks in February wanting to convey a larger view of the conflict, and the idea to document protesters’ weapons occurred to him in the final days of his time there. Speaking to Wired, Jamieson says, “Every single person without fail had a club or a bat or something like that. You couldn’t help but notice the DIY nature of the whole thing, from the barricades themselves to the totally inadequate body armor that people were wearing, and the weapons as well. It looked like something out of Mad Max, it was crazy.”
Jamieson and his assistant took the photos. The pair traveled Maidan Square in Kiev with a black background cloth, stopping when they saw an interesting weapon. Many of the weapons are decorated with messages, symbols, or cartoons. Jamieson says he saw evidence that the protesters held more modern weaponry, including automatic weapons, but that they were kept hidden to avoid escalating the conflict. “As nasty as a lot of these weapons look, and as brutal and primitive, it’s nothing in comparison to an automatic machine gun,” says Jamieson. “So they look fearsome but they’re almost medieval – it’s sticks and stones.”
Jamieson plans to visit Crimea in the coming weeks, to document the unrest there. Reuters has published a detailed timeline of recent events in Ukraine. Peaceful protests began in Ukraine on November 21, 2013. Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s then president, backed out of trade deals with the EU and moved to strengthen ties with Russia instead. Protests intensified in December and January, particularly following new anti-protest laws. At least 77 people died in the violence. On February 22, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Yanukovich from his post as president, and he fled the capital soon after.