Mstislav Chernov

Mstislav Chernov

Ukrainian film director, war journalist, Oscar 2024 winner
6 articles
Short biography

Mstyslav Andreevich Chernov is a Ukrainian filmmaker, photojournalist, war correspondent and writer. Winner of the Oscar 2024 for the documentary "20 Days in Mariupol".

Brief biography

Mstislav Chernov was born in 1985 in Kharkov.

Since 2005 he started working as a photographer in the Kharkiv news agency MediaPort.

Three years later he received his first award at the local photo exhibition "Kharkiv. City through the eyes of citizens", and also held his first personal photo exhibition Musica per somnia. It was organized after the director of the Kharkiv Philharmonic Yuri Yank was struck by the photos of Japanese violinist Sayaka Shoji taken by Chernov.

In 2009 Chernov again distinguished himself as a photographer, taking the first place at the photo exhibition "Almost Lost Kharkiv", showing the destruction of the old architecture of the city.

Later he collaborated with the international project "Children of Chernobyl", Novick Cardiac Alliance, and also lived in Cambodia, where he shot local cultural and medical projects.

In 2013 Chernov, who has already worked in more than forty countries, was recognized at the national level, winning first place in the Ukrainian competition Photographer of the Year in the category "Documentary Photography". At the same time he won the Pentax Awards Ukraine 2013 and Best Press Photographer of Ukraine (Portrait nomination).

In the same year his art project-installation "Looking into the windows" became very popular. As part of the project, enlarged old photographs were placed in the windows of abandoned buildings. This project was repeated in the following years.

Documentary journalism

In 2013, Chernov found himself in Istanbul in the midst of violent protests in Gezi Park and Taksim Square. After that, he decided to switch from feature photography to covering conflicts and wars.


In late 2013, Chernov found himself in the center of Kiev, which was engulfed by mass protests against the government of Viktor Yanukovych. During all the violent events, Chernov was in the thick of things all the time, because of which he himself suffered. Thus, he was attacked and injured several times. In particular, in early December 2013, police officers injured his hand, tore up his journalist's ID card and destroyed his photographic equipment.

In January 2014, a policeman threw a light-noise grenade at Chernov, who was marked "Press," injuring the photographer's legs and eyes with shrapnel.

That's when Chernov began working with the Associated Press.

The war in eastern Ukraine and other hotspots

In 2014, he began covering the Russian Federation's invasion of eastern Ukraine. He was one of the first to take a photo of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down in Donbass. He was awarded the Royal Television Society's Young Talent of the Year award for his reporting.

He subsequently covered the war in Syria, the battle for Mosul in Iraq, and the European migration crisis.

In 2017, in Mosul, a sniper's bullet pierced Chernov's camera and lodged in his body armor.

At the time, his photo and video reports were already appearing in many global media outlets.

In the spring of 2020, Chernov worked in Libya and Syria and covered the migration crisis in Turkey. He also covered the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.

He also worked in Belarus, covering the presidential election and subsequent protests after Lukashenko was declared the winner of the election.

In Minsk, Chernov was detained by Belarusian law enforcers and beaten in a detention center before waking up in an ambulance.

Photos and videos taken by Chernov during the protests showed that protester Aliaksandr Taraikouski was shot at point-blank range by riot police on August 10, 2020 in Minsk. Chernov was then deported from the country and denied further accreditation.

20 days in Mariupol

On the day of Russia's full-scale invasion, February 24, 2022, Chernov traveled with an Associated Press team to Mariupol. There for 20 days they filmed all the horrors of war in the besieged city. In particular, and the aftermath of the Russian airstrike on Maternity Hospital No. 3.

From the footage, which miraculously managed to get out of Mariupol, they later created the documentary "20 Days in Mariupol", which won many victories at the world level, and also won the Oscar 2024 for the best documentary film.

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