Ukrainian-born photographer from Elburn offers her talents to support her home country – Shaw Local
Working in the arts comes naturally to Olena Swoboda.
Growing up in a small town in central Ukraine, she enjoyed spending time with her grandparents. Her maternal grandmother made handmade rugs, embroidered garments and traditional towels, and her paternal grandmother was an artist whose paintings hung in galleries.
“I always wished I had this talent, but I didn’t,” said the Elburn photographer.
However, she later discovered her own artistic talent in photography.
Swoboda went to photography school and took private lessons with a photographer in Ukraine in 2017, then moved to Kane County in 2018. She enjoys doing portraits, family photos, small weddings and events , and corporate branding sessions, noticing that it’s always been her. dreams of finding a job that doubles as an activity you would do for fun.
She felt compelled to use her talent to help friends and family in Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in late February. In mid-March, she posted to several Kane County Facebook groups, writing, “I was born and raised in Ukraine and the situation in my home country is heartbreaking for me. My family and friends are in Ukraine, as are millions of other people who currently live there.
Her message said she was offering a reduced rate for photography and that the money would be donated to children and families in Ukraine. That discounted rate is still available this month — she’s offering a photo shoot with 20 high-res photos for $100 instead of the usual $200, with proceeds going to volunteers in Ukraine. For companies that already support Ukraine through their own fundraisers, she offers a free brand photo shoot as a thank you.
Swoboda’s hometown, Kropyvnytskyi, lies about 300 km southeast of the capital, kyiv. At press time, Kropyvnytskyi had been spared some of the shelling but was seeing a large influx of displaced people. If you want to help out, she said donating or supporting local fundraisers is often faster than sending supplies in the mail.
“People still need help,” Swoboda said. “I want to help.”
This story originally appeared in the can issue from Kane County Magazine.