A message from Pye Jirsa, Co-Founder of SLR Lounge.

I wanted to write and share this message personally. As a photography platform, we do our best to “stay within our lane.” News and politics do not usually fall within that lane, but as artists who communicate through portraiture and photojournalism, human beings are definitely within our lane. In fact, human suffering is a subject that should be within all of our lanes.

how photographers can help ukraine with example from 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014

Most of us are far away from what’s happening in Ukraine. Because of that, it’s easy for us to go about our day, working and enjoying our time with friends/family. Out of sight, out of mind, if you will. Because of this, I wanted to call a bit of attention to how much of our photography industry is served by companies and freelancers that are based out of Ukraine and the surrounding region. These are just a few companies off the top of my head that I know are supported (or created) by Ukraine and Moldovan teams.

  • Skylum Software – Ukraine Founded
  • Flothemes – Moldovan Founded
  • Pixieset – Moldovan Development Team
  • Pixellu – Ukraine Based Development Team
  • SLR Lounge – Uses Developers from Ukraine/Moldova

Outside of our photography industry, much of the tech world sources its development and creative talent from Ukraine and its surrounding regions. My partner, Yen, who is in the space of web development, works with many of these teams. Each day, Yen and I receive emails from our friends and partners who are sending what might be best described as an “Out of Office” email. Only in their case, they’re not going on vacation. They’re simply trying to get their families somewhere out of harm’s way.

help Ukraine crosses grave marker
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014

Much of Ukraine’s relief efforts are coming from their neighbors in Moldova. In fact, right now, my friends Sasha Leahovcenco and Ross Tanner (Moldovan-born photographers & entrepreneurs) are helping lead efforts to get Ukrainian families to areas of safety. Sasha is one of the most talented photographers & creatives I know. Since 2014, he’s been documenting the Russia/Ukraine conflict images you see in this article. Ross is not only an amazing artist but a talented product designer and the founder of Flothemes.

Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014
Photo by Sasha Leahovcenco in 2014

All of this is to say that even though we are a world apart, these friends and business partners have touched all of our lives. And while we’re far away, we’re not powerless to help. I’ll include a few links and ideas below that you can consider.


If you have the means, please donate to any one of these relief organizations:

  • Friends of Moldova – Ukraine Refugee Relief
  • Republic Pilgrim – Warzone Relocation Efforts
  • Grace Tea – Smart Albums War Victim Effort
  • CNN Split Donation – Split Between 28 Organizations
  • Ukraine Guardian Angels – The Skylum team is seeking drone donations for use in Ukraine. To get further information, please contact Sabina Lliasova from Skylum Team at sabina@skylum.com. She will provide you with further support and information about the delivery address.
  • Pixellu has also written an article on relief options, read by Clicking Here.

Support for Ukraine by Pixellu

The following information is shared with permission from a Pixellu blog entry with more information on ways to support Ukraine.

Global Empowerment Mission

GEM Bstrong focuses primarily on relocation programs for Ukrainian Evacuees and the supply of short-term vital necessities. The fund helps evacuees reach safety by providing transport to a country where they already have family or friends that can take them in.

Their Facebook page is the best place to understand how their funds are used and who they are helping.

Grace Tea

Grace Tea is working to provide life-saving aid such as food, water, and emergency aid for civilian victims, plus cash assistance and transportation for those fleeing Ukraine. Grace Tea was recently founded by Daniel Usenko (Pixellu CEO) and his wife, Maryna. They are working closely with trusted friends and allies on the ground in Ukraine to ensure that 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to support those affected. They aim to provide transparency for all donors around exactly where their donations are going, who receives them, and how they are helping.

Daniel is holding a weekly Zoom call, every Saturday at 10 am Pacific, to provide updates on the conflict, the organization, how you can help, and allow people to ask questions. You can register to join in here.

You can also find out more about Grace Tea via their website.


Libereco, and their Ukrainian partner organization Vostok SOS are working together to help evacuate Ukrainian refugees out of the country. As a volunteer-run nonprofit, money donated goes directly towards medical and humanitarian aid for Ukrainian locals, evacuating vulnerable people, and providing trauma support in the wake of the recent shell bombings.

The Libereco website provides some information about how donations are used, and their Facebook page provides regular updates in several different languages.

Meest Logistics

With massively disrupted shipping into and throughout Ukraine, Meest Logistics facilitates shipping humanitarian aid packages from any online store into Ukraine. They ensure that your support packages arrive intact and make it into the hands of those who need them most.

Their website outlines how to purchase and ship a package, but their Instagram page is the best place to start to get a good overview of how their service works.

Nova Ukraine

Nova Ukraine is a Bay Area based nonprofit working to provide humanitarian aid for Ukrainian people and their families. They were established in 2014 and worked throughout the COVID19 pandemic, so they have well-established partners on the ground in Ukraine to ensure donations make it to the people who need them most.

You can find out more about Nova Ukraine via their website.

Project C.U.R.E is working to support Ukrainian hospitals in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, and other cities, ensuring they have the medical equipment and supplies to care for those injured in the current conflict.

They are raising $1,000,000 to send twenty 40-foot containers full of medical supplies to hospitals in the most affected regions.

To read more about their current project, you can visit their project website.