Ukrainian Railroad Ladies
Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is a series of portraits of women who work as traffic controllers and safety officers at railroad crossings in Ukraine. These women spend the majority of their long shifts enclosed in the little railway houses built along the tracks specifically for them. The series studies Ukrainian rural and suburban landscapes where the exteriors of these railroad houses play a prominent role. The project depicts the intimate details of interiors of these houses and invites the viewer to meet the Railroad Ladies themselves. Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is also an exploration of Ukrainian mentality, trust and challenge to the existing system, and why this profession still exists in the 21st century, given the almost full automatization of railroad crossings in Ukraine and around the world. It is a study of the anthropological and social aspects of this particular profession and the role and importance of the railroad in Ukraine in general. The country has been consumed by political turmoil: A war in the East and loss of its territory to an aggressive neighbor, never mind the endless corruption and permanently troubled economy. In Ukraine, people pay little attention to the women they see from a train window, standing and most often holding a folded yellow flag (a sign to the train engineer that all is well on the tracks ahead). The yellow flag is a symbolic sign of assurance and trust. Although the country and the world are consumed with much larger issues, the people with folded yellow flags play a big, yet silent role in Ukrainian everyday life. In the storm, it’s often hard to see the lighthouse. Ukrainian Railroad Ladies are that lighthouse. They are a symbol of certain things in this country that don’t change, standing firm in the present as a defiant nod to the past. Unfazed by the passing of trains and time, they are here to stay.

Sasha Maslov was born in Ukraine in 1984. Inspired and taught by his father, Guennadi Maslov, and later his teacher and mentor, Oleg Shishkov, he became an aspiring young photographer who now resides in New York city. Sasha works in editorial photography and is best known for his social documentary projects based around Eastern Europe and especially in his native country. 

Sasha Maslov (UE) "Ukrainian Railroad Ladies" - Helphoto 2020
Sasha Maslov (UE) "Ukrainian Railroad Ladies" - Helphoto 2020