Yesterday I arrived in Ulm, Germany, to visit my dear Ukrainian friend Oksana, who has moved here little more than a month ago to work as a volunteer, just when I moved to Vienna. It's the first proper weekend for me in a while, and it feels so-o-o goo-o-d. We climbed the highest church in the world, which is apparently situated in Ulm, and is called Ulm Münster - definitely the highlight of this year for me. And today I went for the most beautiful morning walk to shoot the first snow, but the pictures from this one you'll see in the next blog post.


Recently I began a little photo series about my friend Hoa's place as a part of my school assignment, which slowly transitioned into a story of her daily life in Vienna. Hoa is from Vietnam, she moved to Vienna 3 years ago and is currently working for Vienna's news channel W24 as a video journalist and editor. She likes traveling and using Couchsurfing as a way to find friends and hosts all over the world. She says that she doesn't like Vienna because it's too clean and neat for her taste. She prefers Paris.

She is also very creative and independent. When I was sipping a fruit tea in her room, she took a hammer and started redsigning her room and putting ornaments of the wall, because why not? She said: "It's so hard to do it on my own, because while putting stuff ob the wall I can't see whether it fits well together."


This month has been one of the most challenging and life-changing (obviously), as it has been almost a month since I moved to Vienna. There were a lot of unpleasant moments, to say the least, but let us just focus on the positive here and reflect on all the great things that happened in October of 2016.

Warning: This post does not bear any artistic value, may include pictures from my phone, pocket camera, dslr as well as a lot of rambling and useless information.


Oh, I can feel a smile on someone's face seeing that title, if s/he went though this kind of process. In order to give you some background, to get a residence permit (as a student or pupil) in Austria for a year, you need: an invitation from the corresponding authority, where you're applying for RP; a passport; a health insurance for a year; a confirmation of enrollment; a copy of your visa D and a statement from your bank account, that proves you have enough money to live for a year - should not be older than two weeks! So I had around 5 days (including two weekend days) to collect that and apply, otherwise my bank statement would expire and things would get complicated. Praise the Lord I made it in time!


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You might remember that last April I traveled to Austria from Ukraine to take en entrance exam at Graphische school (Höhere graphische bundeslehr und versuchanstal). Six month later I'm in Vienna, I wake up at 6 am every morning to go to classes at Graphische. Studying photography abroad was something I started talking about in high school, and now it's so weird and surreal to be on the other side of a dream.


A month ago I helped to shoot a wedding of my close friends back in Lutsk, and for the occasion I decided to test my new lens (I was able to buy through my crowdfunding) and shoot the whole event with Nikkor 24-85 mm 3.5-4.5. There were moments when I regretted not taking my 50 mm 1.4 with me, but after editing the pictures I realized 24-85 mm did a pretty good job. It is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, lens in Nikon zoom range and it's totally worth the money.

 Here're some pictures from the wedding, I hope they will give you some perspective on how the lens performs.


There is a huge variety photography magazines which you can buy or read online, but most of them focus of technical side, macro, landscape and equipment, which are the topics out of my interest zone. I'm always looking for websites/resources where photography is skillfully combined with storytelling and photographer's personality, where you can learn photography and current news, get inspired and motivated to pursue personal projects. So here are my top ten websites which I would highly recommend to all my friends interested in photography.
1. ISO 1200 is an amazing video blog which has everything you could ever need - from backstage cover shoots videos to tutorials and DIYs. I've been following it for years and I refer to it every time I need an inspiration kick.

2. Fotografia Magazine has a great monthly selection of photography competitions and grants you can apply for. Also, fantastic photography articles from all around the world.


Ви можете прочитати цей допис українською за посиланням

It's been a long time coming but it's finally here - my crowdfunding experience wrap up. After a 40-day marathon I took some time off, visited my hometown and tried to fix my health, which got some damaging along the way.

By the end of my crowdfunding campaign I collected $ 2,221 (including cash) of planned $7,847. Equipment is in priority for me, as my dream education is quite technical (so strange to hear it from myself - humanitarian to the bone), that is why the first funds received I've spent on a new Nikon 24-85 3.5 lens (review coming soon). I'm also actively searching for a vlog camera to start vloging as soon as I move to Austria.

I'll be collecting money for the living expenses  and a laptop as I go. Paulo Coelho once said: "If you really want something, the whole universe will help you achieve this." In my case I rely on God's help.

I decided to answer some frequently asked questions regarding my campaign and future education.

Q: When are you moving to Austria?

A: I'm still waiting for my visa, it can take 2 more weeks, hopefully no more.

Q: Do you keep all the funds collected if you don't achieve your financial goal?

A: Yes, it's the policy of Fund Dreamer. Other crowdfunding platforms may have other rules. Make sure to read them carefully at the beginning.

Q: I've been dreaming about education abroad for a long time but I don't have funds for it. Should I try crowdfunding?

A: Absolutely. For Ukrainian students crowdfunding can become a new source of income and an extremely useful skill. I would really like that the concept of donating to someone's education became commonplace. I am sad to see how a new board game in Kickstarter collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of days, while Ukrainian students collect every penny to study at prestigious universities. So I encourage you to support Kolia and Lisa, as they're currently crowdfunding their studies. 

 I would like to thank all of you, who have visited my campaign page, shared my story and wrote me encouraging words. You kept me going all this way and now I'm so much closer to what I've been dreaming about. Feel free to leave me any more questions in the comments sections below. I couldn't finish my campaign without making another video and saying  'thank you-s' in person. Sorry for my tired look and voice, I was sincerely cheering inside.

Follow your goals and, even when you fail, do not stop, because really there is no other options. Support people around you, who have big dreams, and you will find the strength to make your own come true.

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You would become a clown art fan if you had seen the perfomance of "Clowns without borders Sweden" a few days back in Kyiv. I feel like these guys have the best job ever; not in terms of easiness, but in terms of feedback. Seeing all those kids' smiling faces must feel like bliss, especially considering their current life circumstences - "Clowns" were performing at the biggest childrens hospital in Ukraine and also for temporarily displaced kids in one of the Kyiv theaters. Before Kyiv the artists conducted 15 perfomances in different cities of eastern Ukraine, where military actions are currently taking place. UNICEF Ukraine kindly invited me to shoot Kyiv peromance of the "Clowns" for them.


Instagram is huge now. Not only it provides a great platform for people all around the world to share their stories, it has also created a community of passionate and creative people that now can discover each other and connect. I have amazing friends I met over Instagram and now I'm slowly starting to enjoy the community spirit it has.

The way Instagram explains Instameet is a meeting of Instagram users where they talk about filters and shoot everything around them. My reaction was: "Really? That's it?" I was never interested in a technical side of picture but what stays behind it. I really wanted to visit an instameet so I organized one in my hometown Lutsk. You should do what you what the world to have more of.

We had out little bunch of strangers who like photography but we connected right away and it felt like we had done Instameets ten times before.

Despite the name, I couldn't put my camera down. Because of the crowdfunding-, moving-, packing-, emailing-madness I had during the last months - I was really missing creative environment and creative process.

I would highly recommend you to organize your own Instameet or any other kind of gathering and be around people who share your passion. Your body and mind will feel its benefits right away.


Hello everyone!

I'm excited to share some news with you, so lets get right to it!

One of the best Ukrainian newspapers featured me in their recent article about Ukrainian students who are currently crowdfunding their education. The article touches so many aspects of education abroad and all its difficulties Ukrainian students encounter. I was very happy to learn about other Ukrainian students trying to crowdfund as I can relate a lot to what they're going through. The articles is really well-written and easy to read so make sure to check it before it goes under paywall this Thursday!


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It is hard to believe that it has been more than a month since the start of this crowdfunding adventure. I remember telling my friend, after she asked where I would get money for my education, that I will crowdfund it. And now a year later – I’m doing it. You know you’re on the right way when you’re doing things you’re actually terrified of.

You can fund my photogtaphy education here 

As it is the final week and there is still a big chunk of money to raise - I would like to ask you to share my story with as many family members and friends as you can. It will be so much more exciting for you to be a part of campaign that succeeded than just the one that raised just something.


The past week was quite hard for me emotionally and physically. Multitasking exhausts you more than anything else and I got to the state when sleep doesn’t help – I just need a change of scenery. I’m finishing my last week at the NGO I was employed at and slowly moving stuff to my hometown.


The reason I haven't made an update in such a long time is because I was waiting a lot. Anticipation becomes an inevitable part of your life when you face bureaucracy.

 - My visa madness is over! A day before the deadline at the Austrian embassy, I finally received a necessary document from my college and applied for the residence permit. Again, a God's miracle happened for me to do that. I still need to wait for around 3-4 weeks (of course) till the decision is made, but at least I did everything that depended on me. 



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Let's take a break from my crowdfunding adventures and enjoy a lovestory of these two madly-in-love's. I can't find the right words to describe this wonderful family and the fun we had making this photoshoot. All I can say is they have enough love to change the world, and may God bless them with that.


It's been almost a week since my first update, so I thought it is time for a new one, as a lot of things have happened.

1. Today was a very important day because I went to Austrian Embassy to apply for a visa. I know that for many Europeans and Americans visa is an alien thing, most of you have never dealt with that. Basically it is a striker in a passport that allows all people from non-EU countries to enter EU. And you need tons of papers and quite a lot of money to get it.

 On a side note: I'm pretty scared of embassies. I had a dramatic experience once, when an embassy employees were acting disrespectfully, to say the least. Most embassies are like that in Ukraine, I guess. So from that moment I have an embassy phobia. 

 Today, however, I was quite lucky, as the woman who was accepting my document wasn't too annoyed with me, but just a little. At least I could breathe, my legs were shaking though. All of my documents are fine, except my college invitation, which somehow is not suitable. So I need to get a new one, and it is a problem because all the college employees are on vocation. FUN!

2. After the first update many of you wrote me a lot of kind words of support and joined the campaign, and it just makes me so happy and grateful no matter how hard and stressful this adventure is.

3. I'm 7% funded, yey! May not look exciting to you, but definitely does to me because I'm 7% closer to my dream than I was two weeks ago. Here's the updated funding chart.

4. For the next two weeks I expect a funding block, which is a campaign midpoint when no one donates. You can make it less silent by voting for the campaign at the bottom of the page - we still need 75 votes to get it f featured on the Fund Dreamer homepage! Also, you're always more than welcomed to join it financially and share it with your friends and family.

I hope there will be much more good news in the next update. Enjoy the rest of the summer to the fullest and plan something exciting for September!

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Since my campaign launched four days ago, I've been blown away by the response of supporters like you! Thank you so, so much! It warms my heart to know that so many people are excited and willing to give to the campaign.. I know that, with each new donation (whether big or small) I'm getting closer to reaching my goal. Here’re a few things I would like you to pain attention to: 

 1. My amazing friend Olia created an infographic to give you an idea of how many people need to give and at what amount to get me to 100%. The painted cameras represent support given while the unpainted ones represent support remaining. I would be honored if you chose to give and take up one of those empty slots. I will continually update my progress through this infographic. 

2. The first10 days of a campaign are important for support raising. As more and more support comes in, you create energy and momentum. When this happens, others take notice and see the campaign as worthy of support. Statistically, the vast majority of campaigns that reach 80% in support receive end up meeting their goal. I want to create momentum in these first few days of the campaign. 

 3. I'm so excited about this campaign, because it's success will allow me to fulfill a dream I've had for a long time. But I can only do this with your help. I need fans to help me get the word out and tell others about what I'm doing. There are a number of ways you can do this. First, you can share the link to my fundraising page on your Facebook wall along with a personal message. Second, you can vote for my campaign at the bottom of this page. If I get 100 votes, my campaign will be featured on FundDreamer for a week. The more people see the campaign, the more the word will get out on the internet. If you could do one or both of these things, I would greatly appreciate it.

 Once again, thank you for all your support and encouragement. Your kind words give me confidence and belief that I will meet my goal. Because of you, something that once seemed impossible is getting closer to be possible. Ira

So, I've started a crowdfunding campaign, and this whole thing makes me beyond nervous. I've always adored people who did them, one of my biggest inpiration is Emily, who crowdfunded her amazing short film.

Now I know what she felt while doing it.

Here is the list of feelings I go through every second in my head for the last 3 days:

- My goal is too selfish, no one is going to donate; 

 - I sound terrible in English, everyone's gonna laugh; 

 - I actually sound terrible in any language;

 - I've probably made a lot of mistakes which I can't seen anymore, people will think I'm stupid; 

 And with all of that, I'm still doing it, because are there really any other options? You just have to follow your fears and see what happens/

You can check out my crowdfunding page here.

I've always wanted to do one since I saw "Letters to July" series. At first I didn't get them, but two years later I can relate to every single video.

Basically, it's a series of reflections about the month of July and life beyond it. As if you want to talk to someone or write a letter to someone without having a destination.

So I finally made one, it's about my hometown Lutsk.

You can find the rest of the episodes here. The project is ongoing till the end of July, so if you feel like making one - please feel free to share.

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If you have tons of tabs opened waiting to be checked out, and dozens of calls to be made, and a schedule to be done, but you don't know where to start and your eyes already hurt - lets just take a moment and exhale. But if you feel awesome - that's great, just keep reading :)