The first thing photographer Brendan Hoffman did upon waking up Thursday was check Twitter and the local news to see what was happening on the streets outside his hotel in Kiev. It’s just part of the routine when you’re a photojournalist covering the protests that have raged there for months. All was calm, at least for the moment.
By the time he left his hotel near Independence Square, though, Hoffman found a gruesome scene. Anti-government protesters and medics were carrying bloodied bodies into makeshift clinics–and morgues. Gunfire rang in the distance. Confusion reigned as government security forces clashed with protesters.
“There was no way to tell exactly what was happening, but people were saying some of it was snipers,” the 34-year-old photographer told WIRED by phone. “I did see a lot of people with a single shot to the head.”
Hoffman did what he always does: He grabbed his gear and ran toward the chaos. Hoffman, an American photographer based in Moscow and member of the Prime Collective, has been covering the protests intermittently for several months, and in that time he’s witnessed a lot of bloodshed. But this week has been especially bad, he said.