Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable: How Award-Winning Photojournalist Serhii Korovayny G’21 Covers the War in Ukraine

As Russian bombs were striking targets across Ukraine and with the war in its infancy in early 2022, Serhii Korovayny G’21 could think of only one way to help his country: he picked up his camera and started documenting the struggles his fellow Ukrainians were facing as unwanted invaders threatened their way of life.

Serhii Korovayny headshot
Serhii Korovayny G’21

While Korovayny’s lens captured the suffering that is prevalent during times of war— such as a drone attack toppling a building and bloodied residents fleeing—it also recorded the moments of humanity, times when strangers came together to offer a helping hand to a neighbor in need.

Through it all, Korovayny, an award-winning editorial and portrait photographer based in Kyiv, leaned on an adage he learned during his time at Syracuse University from Bruce Strong, the Alexia Endowed Chair of the visual communications department in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

“You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Korovayny says of the advice that guided him.

“It’s such a simple and powerful phrase. I have to approach people who are probably suffering or trying to get access to medical care, and there have been so many times where I’ve found myself feeling super uncomfortable documenting the war. But this little phrase is about me accepting that this is part of my job, and I have no other choice but to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” adds Korovayny, who earned a master’s degree in multimedia, photography and design.