A northern extension of the Black Sea and formerly an internal sea of the USSR, the Sea of Azov has since become an international sea bordered by Russia and Ukraine. Its shores have become a contested territory since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its waters are now a geostrategic concern for both countries although they are seldom discussed as such in the media.
The Sea of Azov crystallizes tensions between the two countries and the Kerch Strait is a striking example. Under Russian control since the annexation of Crimea, it is claimed by Ukraine as its territory. Whoever controls the strait controls the maritime traffic in the sea. The annexation of Crimea therefore allows Russia a de facto annexation of the Sea of Azov, transforming this expanse into an important tool of the Russian economic bottleneck, which allows the Russian Navy to impose strict control over maritime traffic and hinder freedom of navigation to the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, further tightening the noose around Ukrainian sovereignty.
Started in 2019, this series explores the coasts of this disputed sea. On either side of a front line whose images of muddy trenches are reminiscent of the First World War, these uncluttered horizons bathed in soft light act as metaphors for loss as much as for hope, and the nostalgic gaze of two peoples once indivisible, now tangled in a fratricidal conflict.