extraordinary book shot in only 3 days presents an
unexpected look at what remains of Chernobyl and the town of Pripyat,
the 11 days following the Chernobyl catastrophe on April 26, 1986,
more than 116,000 people were permanently evacuated from the area
surrounding the nuclear power plant.
unfit for human habitation, the "Zones of Exclusion" includes
the towns of Pripyat (established in the 1970s to house workers)
May 2001, Robert Polidori photographed what was left behind in this
dead zone. His richly detailed images move from the burned-out control
room of Reactor 4 where technicians staged the experiment
that caused the disaster to the unfinished apartment complexes,
ransacked schools and abandoned nurseries that remain as evidence
of all those people who once called Pripyat home.
trucks and tanks used in the clean up efforts rest in a car graveyard.
Some are covered in lead shrouds and others have been robbed
of parts. Houseboats and barges rust in the contaminated waters
of the Pripyat River. Foliage grows over the sidewalks and
hides the modest homes of Chernobyl.
his large-scale photographs, Mr. Polidori captures the faded colors
and desolate atmosphere of these two towns. He produces haunting
documents that present the reader with a rare view of not just a
disastrous event but a place and the people who lived there.
Polidori was born in Montreal in 1951 and lives in New York City.
He has exhibited photographs in Paris, Brasilia, New York, Los Angeles
is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and has
been featured in Geo, Architectural Digest Germany
and Nest Magazine.
Polidori has received numerous honors, including a World Press Award
for his coverage of the Getty Museum and two Alfred Eisenstaedt
Awards for his work in Havana and Brasilia.