Prypyat mon Amour
Photo essay documenting people, who, like me, were evacuated from Prypyat(Pripyat), Ukraine in April 1986 after Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.
“In 1986 I was evacuated from Prypyat, Ukraine, following the nuclear power plant catastrophe in Chernobyl.
I was only one-year-old. My father, an engineer, was working in the plant on the night of the accident. He was then 28-years- old and my mother only 23-years-old.
At the time, the average age of residents in Prypyat - a small town three-kilometers away from Chernobyl, built for the families of those working at the nuclear power plant - was 26-years-old. All of them (almost 50 000) had to leave the town less than two days after the disaster of the 26th of April 1986. The fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant exploded during the systems test, releasing a cloud of highly radioactive emissions into the atmosphere and over an extensive area – still the biggest nuclear disaster in the modern history.
In 2011, at the age of 26, I revisited my hometown for the first time - a town I never knew and never will. The accident at the plant drastically and radically altered my parents’ lives and also my own. In many respects, all of my desires and passions sprung from the ruins of Chernobyl. And many people who I miss are gone because of it (my father died 10 years ago, his health influenced by constant exposure to radiation, back in 1986 and later during his work as a scientist in Chernobyl). I returned again in 2012, to finish the self-portrait part of the project.
Now, that the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl approaches, I went back to Prypyat to concentrate not on my life, but on lives of other people. Those who were, too, evacuated from the Zone back in 1986.
Some of them are my age, some are older - others have children themselves - but all of them somehow influenced by the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. I wanted to see how Chernobyl changed their lives - and I returned back to Prypyat together with them, to mark the starting point - Ground Zero- of their current life.
The crucial part of my work was photographing these people back in Prypyat, in their abandoned apartments and the familiar surroundings from their past and hearing their stories about the city they’ve left behind.”