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 explored Ukraine from February 2015 to April 2016.
Project “30” aims to depict people in Ukraine who have a connection to the explosion; whose lives were altered by the sudden release of atomic energy and subsequent political strife. To depict this, Obara challenged traditional visual representation by creating 3 different types of object: two photobooks and a replica of newspaper. The photobook “Exposure” depicts the first 30 years of life of an invisible girl who suffers ongoing medical problems as a result of the disaster. The images were created by using old Ukrainian colour negative film which was found in the abandoned city of Pripyat. Another photobook, “Everlasting,” captured the commute of the ChNPP’s workers between their hometown and the plant as a metaphor for the cycle of repetition. Decontamination work has been handed down from generation to generation since the accident.
Given the difficulty of dealing with radioactive waste it seems as though this process could go on for ever. Supporting those two photobooks, Obara make the replica of an old newspaper which was found in Pripyat from the time helps to feel the passing of time.