Slavutych is a town for youth, a space for secure, unhurried development, which was created artificially in the middle of pinewoods, between Desna and Dnipro rivers some couple decades ago, following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Everything one might need for living is in the walking distance – this is they way the town was planned. New buildings in 13 new living blocks, stores, entertainment venues, schools, and even a big art school in the main square. But what does the young generation really need? What do we dream of as kids? What do we want to do when we’re teens? Where do we want to go when we grow up?
Over three years Niels Ackermann, the photographer, was documenting the young Slavutych generation. He went to photograph architecture, but instead he got interested in young people and their free time activities. Ackermann has made a portrait of not only the youth and growth, but more generally, the portrait of the youngest Ukrainian town. Everyone was dreaming about a children’s café when was young, a place for fun, sweets, and freedom. But the things desirable in childhood are not that tempting when growing older, they might even bring disappointment. The abandoned café in the Slavutych park is now going to come back to life as a town portrait.
Niels Ackermann is a photojournalist, documentary photographer from Switzerland, he now lives in Ukraine. Over the last three years Ackermann was documenting the young Slavutych generation; in March 2016 his photo album, The White Angel, was published. His photographs were published in The Financial Times, Le Monde, Time, L’Express, Le Temps, Sonntags Zeitung, The New York Times, Die Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and other publications. He is a co-founder of Lundi 13 photo agency. The White Angel project has won all the leading Swiss photo awards.