COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — For the last month, the images coming out of Ukraine have touched the world and have pushed many people into action.
Some are donating and volunteering, while others are heading into the warzone to do what they can to help.
Anthony Pizzoferrato is one of the few heading into the warzone. A Columbus native, the Westerville Schools and Columbus State graduate has been all over the world, first with the Army, but now, as a photojournalist.
“I’m out here on my own money, my own time because I just think, like many other volunteers that are here right now, we just need to be here,” Pizzoferrato said.
He’s covered the invasion of Ukraine for the past three weeks, watching as civilians go through the wreckage of their home and say goodbye to their loved ones as some flee and others stay to fight.
“For me, I’m fighting an information war. There’s a lot of propaganda out there, a lot of misinformation and for me, my job is to share the truth with people and see exactly what’s going on,” he said. “We can’t allow the propaganda and misinformation, which spreads so quickly nowadays, to win this because this is another front of this war.”
Pizzoferrato said he has “programmed” himself in a way to keep the death and destruction from affecting him too much, as his goal is to typically be a neutral observer of what is going on around him.
“You hear shelling in the distance at night time. It’s like a symphony orchestra going on, and it’s Ukrainian artillery or anti-aircraft guns,” he said. “It almost feels unreal at times, like I want to pinch myself and see if I wake up…like maybe it’s just a dream that I’m here right now…but it’s reality. That’s what we’re living in right now and people should not forget this.”
Despite his military background, he said its hard to not be moved by the sights and sounds of a country being invaded.
“Compared to Afghanistan, I mean, the situation’s a lot different. The destruction’s on a completely different level. I mean, it’s unbelievable some of the things I’ve seen,” Pizzoferrato said. “People have lost everything. Some of these people have literally lost their entire lives and their homes because they have family photos there, their personal belongings. It’s just thing I never would have been able to fathom until I saw it with my own eyes.”
Pizzoferrato said one of the most striking things is how — despite the fighting — people are still trying to live their lives as normally as possible.
“Not everybody’s evacuated the city. There’s children playing in the playgrounds in some areas. They’re riding on the scooters,” he said. “Some people, they’re trying to carry on and have a normal life, even though it’s kinda strange to think we’re in a warzone right now. Just today, I had sat down and had a burger in a cafe today…which is just strange.”
If you want to see Pizzoferrato’s images, you can follow his Instagram @anthony_pizzoferrato.