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How Ukraine-Based Skylum Releases Photo Software During the War

Adobe rival perseveres despite Russian invasion
Photo of Ukraine War

To many photographers, Skylum is a plucky upstart software company that puts out image editing apps that rival giants like Photoshop and Lightroom from Adobe. What many photographers might not know is Skylum is based in Ukraine with its main office in Kiev, a city now under siege by the Russian military.

While some Skylum developers have fled to safer locations, Skylum’s leadership is still in Kiev and, believe it or not, they are still releasing software including a recent update to its Luminar Neo image processor and editor. This week the company posted an update on its website describing how it is surviving and, apparently, thriving despite the constant threat of danger in Ukraine.

The post, titled “How the war in Ukraine affects Skylum’s operations,” also includes a video from Skylum CEO Ivan Kutanin who is currently in Ukraine. After stating that (understandably) there might be some delays with upcoming Skylum software releases because of the current situation, Kutanin vowed to persevere despite the Russian invasion.

“I hope that everyone understands the value of truth and sharing the truth with the world. Because right now we understand that it’s our most powerful weapon,” he says in the clip, which we have embedded below. “Thank you for supporting us, we will definitely win and survive.”

Skylum’s team of 130 people is now scattered around Ukraine and across the world.

“While it’s a challenge to keep up normal operations, the majority of the team is now working from different locations: bomb shelters, on the road, or in the homes of relatives and friends in safer locations,” Skylum stated on its website.

“For Skylum, the safety of our team members is our highest priority. We have already assembled a functional team of 88 people who are committed to making things work. In response to the war, some of our team members have also taken on new roles: helping with the transfer of people and their families to safe locations, delivering food and medicine, helping to settle in Western Ukraine or abroad, or assisting in other necessary ways. We are saving the position and salary for every teammate who serves in the army.”

Skylum has donated $50,000 to Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kutanin has, personally, helped by purchasing thermographic cameras and emergency tourniquets, which provide “first aid in ambulances, in the field during military operations, and in other extreme situations.”

Additionally, the majority of Skylum’s team “is regularly donating their own money and supplies to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and people in need, volunteering, gathering humanitarian help, and taking part in territorial defense teams.”

Skylum was founded in 2008 as Macphun by two game developers and amateur photographers in Kyiv (aka Kiev), Ukraine. Since then, Skylum has become an international company but its core development for its major products such as Luminar and Aurora HDR remains in Kyiv. Skylum team members released a short “Stand with Ukraine” video below.

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