The Chernobyl exclusion zone – Art and Progress
For this photo series, at least for the abandoned places, I have decided to turn the photos’ colors down to transmit the feelings I had when I was on site. But there was one single picture where I could not bring myself to do it. A picture that I had to show in its full vibrant colors.
Inside the post office of Pripyat an incredible piece of art decorates the wall. Protected from the weather it has stayed in good shape for thirty years. It shows Jurij Gagarin, the first human in space. There’s just something about this picture that really gets to me, and I can’t even explain it properly.
The post office, by the way, was not only a place to send and receive letters and parcel. It was also where one went to make a phone call in times when individuals had no phones in their apartments yet.
Another interesting thing in the zone are the murals – several artists have left their works behind on the walls of the abandoned buildings. One of the most interesting series of graffiti shows the animals that can be found throughout the zone. Deer, foxes, horses, wolves, moose and even bears…
Lastly, Pripyat had something that no other Soviet city at the time had. With centralized economy working to government plans, the usual Ukrainian store looked like that: all items were behind a counter, you said what you wanted and it was packaged for you. And how much you could get was decided not by you, but by the government. But in Pripyat, people were supposed to live in the ideal city, in a city that would show the glory of Socialism. So they got a supermarket – one where you could freely take as many items as you want, as long as you could afford them. No limits, no rationing. It was a completely new world for the people of the time.
We came home. I took off all the clothes I’d worn and threw them down the trash chute. I gave my cap to my son. He really wanted it. And he wore it all the time. Two years later they gave him a diagnosis: a tumor of his brain… You can write the rest of this yourself. I don’t want to talk anymore.
Wildlife at Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone.
Rather unsurprisingly, the removal of human inhabitants from what’s now known as The Zone has enabled the return of wildlife to the land, to the point it now serves as a natural sanctuary, away from human disruption.
However, the ever-present radiation remains a source of concern for scientists, so to this day the current population is kept under observation to study the effects it has over it.