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Photo Book

Whiteness in Černobyl

A photographic journey through the Chernobyl exclusion zone

A photographic journey through the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a visual immersion into the territory most affected by the tragic nuclear accident of 1986, in the style of a classic “on the road” reportage. The gaze upon the places, collected and melancholic, reaches Pripjat*, a model city of Soviet architecture, showing what remains of schools, gathering places, sports facilities, hospitals, and homes; and in the rural areas within the Zone, where some elderly people have returned to live. 
Everywhere there is a sinister silence, a suspended stillness laden with the memory of the great disaster. The color white dominates many images, and in the volume itself, as if to underline on one hand the sudden disappearance of the population, and on the other hand the annihilation and erasure of places now overwhelmed by nature. 
The memory presses, reveals itself everywhere, and the narrative respectfully evokes the victims of this absurd tragedy. At 1:23 (UTC+4) on April 26, 1986, during a safety test, the most sensational nuclear disaster in the world occurred, due to the explosion of reactor number 4 of the power plant. 
To not detract from these emotions, the story is told in high-contrast black and white.

*Pripjat was founded on February 4, 1970, as an atomgrad, a small Soviet industrial city with around 50,000 inhabitants, designed to meet the needs of nuclear power plants and officially proclaimed a city in 1979.

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Marco Cortesi

Photographer, passionate mainly about reportage and wildlife. Collector of photography books and magazines. Founder and director of LuganoPhotoDays, an international photography festival based in… More »

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