RW Hawkins Photography | Chernobyl Gallery
The real Chernobyl. Fine art, black and white photographs from inside the exclusion zone.
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About This Project

On April 26 1986, in the Ukrainian SSR, the single largest nuclear disaster occurred during a system test. The tragic events that unfolded afterwards are both sobering and insightful. The nearby city of Pripyat, which was not immediately evacuated, is perhaps the most unique location on the planet. Nowhere else is there such a large, modern city that has been abandoned in place.

Photographing the “exclusion zone” involved a lot of logistics and planning. I was able to photograph for four days in various areas outside the main town. The Jupiter factory was especially fascinating as an industrial manufacturing facility. Exploring Chernobyl-2 with it’s large antenna and numerous outbuildings, was an experience I will never forget.

My goal in photographing Chernobyl was not one of documentation, there are much better sources for that. My approach was to learn as much as I could about the nuclear facility, the city and resulting accident, and then experience the location firsthand. My hope was that by understanding the history in combination with firsthand experience would allow me to respond creatively to the opportunities presented.