The project "Restricted Areas" is about the human impulse towards utopia, about our striving for perfection through technological progress.

Humans are always trying to own ever more than they have—this is the source of technical progress. The byproducts of this progress are various commodities as well as the tools of violence in order to hold power over others.

Better, higher, stronger—these ideals often express the main ideology of governments. To achieve these standards, governments are ready to sacrifice almost everything. Meanwhile, the individual is supposed to become a tool for reaching these goals. In exchange, the individual is promised a higher level of comfort.

For "Restricted Areas," I traveled in search of places which used to hold great importance for the idea of technological progress. These places are now deserted. They have lost their significance, along with their utopian ideology which is now obsolete.

Many of these places were once secret cities, that did not appear on any maps or public records. These places were the sites of forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity. The perfect technocratic future that never came.

Any progress comes to its end earlier or later and it can happen for different reasons—nuclear war, economic crisis, natural disaster. What's interesting for me is to witness what remains after the progress has ground to a halt.

This project is in progress and should be finished in March 2015. The complete series will feature 33 to 35 images.

—Danila Tkachenko


From Competition Juror Sarah Leen:

'Restricted Areas' is very strong. It was a simple yet evocative set of images that took me to a unique location. The images express the cold silence that is wrapped around each building or object. Each image stands alone yet gains strength as a series.

—Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic


Editors' Note: Don't miss the work of all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2014. In total, you'll find 31 visually inspiring works from across the world.

Discover more new, inspiring photography every day from cultures around the world at lensculture.com, and on Facebook and Twitter as well as on Instagram.