My niece Verena and I had been curious for years what it would be like to go to Chernobyl. We both love photography and Urban Exploring. Let’s face it: there is no better place to perform this hobby than in Chernobyl. For people who were born after 1990: in Chernobyl a nuclear disaster took place on 26 April 1986.
I was just 14 years old at the time but I can still remember that day. We were not allowed to eat leafy vegetables anymore, so we only ate canned food. Nobody knew what was going on. Even the European governments did not know what to do. The Netherlands never had to deal with a radiation disaster of this magnitude and were therefore not well prepared for its approach. So it had to be improvised quickly on all kinds of levels. The RIVM was called in to measure any increased radioactivity and to make dose estimates. On 2 May the radioactive cloud came over the Netherlands and the RIVM indeed measured increased radioactivity in the air. With rain on 3 and 4 May, many radioactive particles came on the ground. The greatest risk to health was contamination of milk and agricultural products in the Netherlands and imported contaminated food, such as mushrooms, especially from Eastern Europe. This situation would last for weeks …..While the world is dealing with present conflicts, one point on the planet stands in a great silence. Glancing at its shivering lonesome as a result of the Chernobyl Disaster, the town of Pripyat is not-suggesting what might happen once again but proving mother’s nature unlimited ability to disarm every leading human chaotic results.This Chernobyl/Pripyat photograph serie made by Verena (www.derdetage.nl) tells the story of a once beautiful town that was founded in 1970 as the ninth nuclear city of the soviet union, and had to evacuate its 50.000 inhabitants in within 36 hours after the accident. Indeed, the public building interior photographs reflects Pripyat’s horrors; but there’s also a catch for the town has become a subject for natures occupation, a reclaim. And so, starting from the yellow circles peeled behind the regretting gym hall walls, getting to the tango-dancing hospital lamps, to the never-finished broken-chess play, we find ourselves seeking for a decent inhale of oxygen (which we might, somehow, find while looking at the pile of gas masks shining below gravy books). Hold up to that feeling, because you might get a clue of what comes around while exposed the abandoned basketball court. The serie shows a modern fairytale you won’t hear in the news; its fascinating point of view grips the lens from a wider scene, where Ukraine and Russia each and together has their conflicts, to a minimized spot; to a place where as the last photograph comes in the play trees grow through broken windows and grass pushes up through the cracks in rest.