The Grey Shape of the City
Documenting Decay and Growth in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
In 2019 I hiked from the outskirts of the abandoned Chernobyl Exclusion Zone into Pripyat. There I witnessed decrepit structures being gently swallowed by the earth contrasted by untouched wildlands replete with life, flourishing in a place of human and environmental destruction. The analogue photographs in the project were shot on 35mm Ilford Delta EI 3200 Professional black & white film, with the express purpose of capturing the unseen - radiation damage is visible on several of the images in the set; primarily in the form of additional grain, spots, and ephemeral, wispy white streaks. The images were taken with particular attention to the Soviet brutalist architecture, with the black and white film accentuating the distinctive grey concrete. The total amount of radiation we measured throughout our journey into the zone is less than the amount we absorbed through the plane ride alone, adding to the growing understanding that human activities and habitation are more destructive to the environment than the radiation from the 1986 disaster.
The Grey Shape of the City was exhibited at Brighton’s Metropolis Contemporary Gallery from July 28th to September 28th 2022.
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Artefacts - Radiation Artefacts over Pripyat Tower Blocks
Piano - Broken Piano on the floor of Middle School No.3
Block Balcony - View of Balconies and Apartment Block on the Outskirts of Pripyat
Farmhouse - Collapsed Section of Farmhouse in Chernobyl Zone #2
Stadium - Avanhard Stadium, Pripyat
Musichall - Pripyat Music Hall with STALKER (guide)
Bedroom - Cotravellers in Bedroom in Apartment Block on the Outskirts of Pripyat
Sleep - Cotravellers Asleep in a Dusty Farmouse Supply Closet
Flower - Flower Outside Farmouse, Zone #2