Chernobyl .
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Chernobyl was once just an old-fashioned town in the Ukraine, 100 kilometres from Kiev.  Today it is synonymous with the biggest nuclear disaster in human history. It has been more than 26 years since the accident that took hundreds of lives and forced thousands of people living in the surrounding towns and villages to leave their homeland. Since 2008 photographer Andrej Krementschouk has taken several trips to Chernobyl, venturing into the restricted 30-kilometer zone of alienation around the reactor.  He has documented the surrounding rural landscape, capturing moving portraits of people who refused to leave their homes despite the danger of radiation and who show their strong commitment to nature and a rural lifestyle.  He has also visited the ghost towns which haunt the area.  His images from Prypyat, a town evacuated on April 27 1986, show how nature is reclaiming the urban landscape, and all traces of human habitation are gradually disappearing. "What's left of the inhabitants' belongings come from a bygone era; everything is mildewed, decayed, faded. I found things that I remember from my childhood in the 1970s and 80s. A packet of macaroni, a cabinet, a toy lute, fading pictures on the walls. It was like stepping into the past. It sounds absurd, but there in the middle of the restricted zone, I was able to recognize again the country where I was born.  And I have only the most wonderful memories of my childhood. Maybe that's why this region still has such a hold on me." Andrej Krementschouk. Chernobyl by Andrej Krementschouk The ghost town of Prypyat, evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster on April 27 1986.  It was originally built in the 1970s to house workers for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In the house of Youseffe, within the 30km restricted zone. The ghost town of Prypyat, evacuated in April 1986.  At the time of the accident, the town had around 50,000 inhabitants. Rural life contines within the restricted zone. Nature reclaims the town of Prypyat. Obraschej Olena Dorofeevna. She lives one kilometre from the Chernobyl reactor with her husband Sauco, in the abandoned village of N. Shipelizi. Signs of human passing litter Prypyat’s public buildings. Horse in a radioactive field. Fully stocked bar. On the Prypyat River in the landlocked country of Belarus, near the border with Ukraine. The ghost of a nursery in Prypyat. The daughter of a drug addict and gambler playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R (a computer game developed in the Ukraine where a second nuclear disaster occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone in the near future and causes strange changes in the area around it). A public swimming baths. Village of Michalkovskaja Rudnya, Belarus.  Children in radioactive water. Life goes on.
More of Andrej’s work from the Alienation Zone around Chernobyl can be seen within his two books: Chernobyl Zone (I) and Chernobyl Zone (II). Hairdresser’s shop. Back to current issue