About book

Provincial gigolos and leopard-clad ladies, rigorous businesswomen and young soldiers. You can meet all possible (and often impossible) kinds of characters while commuting on a train in Ukraine — or in Julie Poly’s Ukrzaliznytsia project, named after the country’s one and only railroad transportation enterprise. For a year, the artist has been making documentary and staged pictures on local trains, predominantly in Kyiv region, Eastern and Western parts of Ukraine.

The project depicts certain types of Ukrainian passengers as well as stereotypes about them, with the boundaries between reality and fiction being completely erased. The project was inspired by Julie Poly’s own observations but also by her real experience: she graduated from a railway university in Kharkiv, and even spent a whole summer working as a conductor.


Julie Poly (real name Yulia Polyashchenko) was born in Stakhanov, Lugansk area, and is now based in Kyiv. Inspired by Boris Mikhailov’s projects and her education at Kharkiv School of Photography, she took her first pictures at the horse market in Kharkiv. Today, Julie Poly is among most successful Ukrainian photographers.

Poly’s art practice is merging her previous experience in documentary and staged photography. The photographer interprets cultural and visual codes of typical Ukrainian everyday life, predominantly in the fields of eroticism, fashion, and novel notions of beauty. The artist states that she finds herself constantly inspired by “trivial things, everyday events, stories from lives of friends, and own experience”.