Exposure
Project info

30 years have passed since world’s worst nuclear accident happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) in the former Soviet Union (currently, Ukraine). Photojournalist Kazuma Obara(Japan, 1985) explored Ukraine from February 2015 to April 2016. “Exposure” depicts the first 30 years of the life of an invisible girl who has been affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Just 5 months after the accident, Maria was born in Kiev which is located 100 km south from Chernobyl. She was a very sickly child and did not grow like a normal child. When she was 24 years old, she had operation and removed thyroid gland. Since then, she has to continue to take 10 to 20 pills everyday.

In his research in Ukraine, main problems of surviving victims are not visible; not obvious to other people. He wanted to capture the current situation and, moreover, he wanted people to imagine the invisible problems of the current situation. Images were created by old Ukrainian colour negative films which was found in the abandoned city named Pripyat located 5 km from the ChNPP.

Where exposure commonly denotes visibility and revelation, my images and the process by which they were made challenge that view. While my film was only recently ‘exposed’ in the conventional sense, it seems to be receiving exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident for the past years. Just like Maria, who had been exposed before birth, before visibility, and before volition, my use of this film, with its unruly and visually confusing character refuses the apparent instantaneity of the photographic image, instead calling the viewer to consider that our present lives bear the traces of a life-long and prenatal exposure to the world.