Photojournalist shares pictures and stories of war in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, journalists from around the world are risking their lives to keep people informed and updated as they face the overwhelming realities of war.

Powerful pictures taken by photographer Collin Mayfield, 22, of Auburn, Alabama, show anti-tank obstacles, destroyed Russian military equipment, and dead soldiers.

A destroyed Ukrainian transport vehicle on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, during the Russian ground invasion. The Ukrainian army repelled Russian forces and pushed them back. Taken on Feb 26, 2022 by Collin Mayfield, SIPA USA.

Mayfield has crisscrossed Ukraine, beginning a week before Russian troops invaded the country, which he said he wasn’t expecting.

"We got woken up in the middle of the night and told we had to go down into the basement," Mayfield said. "We could hear artillery from our room. Sometimes it would shake the hotel and those were some very, very sleepless nights."

While he wanted to document history, it was soon apparent he was living it, and relies on Google translate, and at times, an interpreter to get up close and personal.

"The Ukrainians have been doing drive-by Molotov throwings at Russian armored vehicles. They’ve been taking them out with javelins," he said. "Ukrainians have put up a much greater fight than a lot of people expected they would."

But beyond the photos of the war fight, are the stories behind them.

He met foreign fighters, like a man from Washington State and another from Spain, who have joined forces on a mission to protect what he describes as determined and galvanized Ukrainians.

Foreign volunteers Jraven (left) and Viktot (right) in Lviv, Ukraine on Mar. 3, 2022. The two travelled to Ukraine to fight what they view as Russian imperialism. Photo by Collin Mayfield, SIPA USA.

Mayfield said he has also come across older militia men in their 60s, with hunting guns prepared to serve at checkpoints.

He even documented teenagers and women working in converted arts centers, creating camouflaged netting out of old t-shirts.

And other pictures he took portray people making dozens of Molotov cocktails to bombard the Russian troops that threaten their cities.

A Ukrainian militiamember throws a molotov cocktail at a door to show its effectiveness in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 3, 2022. The Ukrainian Government is encouraging citizens to make molotov cocktails to throw at Russian armored vehicles. Photo by Col

MORE: See additional photos from independent journalist Collin Mayfield

War through his lens is harsh, brutal, and graphic.

"One of the most eye-opening things I saw was the corpse of a Russian on the side of the road on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv," Mayfield said. "He was mutilated with parts of his hand blown off."

As battles push closer to cities, Ukrainians are heading west to the Polish border. By law, men between age 18 and 60 must stay behind, but first they’re oftentimes helping their families flee.

Mayfield describes the people as admirable, and said he aims to show their strength by capturing moments of unity.

"Thousands of Ukrainians are doing all they can to help the wounded," he said. "People are gathering medical supplies, people are donating blood…so that’s one of the things that has drawn me to this just being able to see history happening and let the world know these things."

Citizen volunteers make camoflage netting from old clothes and other scrapes of cloth in Lviv, Ukraine on Mar. 5, 2022. Civilians across the country have been volunteering to help against the Russian invasion. Photo by Collin Mayfield, SIPA USA.

Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @BrooksKTVU