Do you ever realize how casually people throw around the word toxic? It's a common catch-all phrase in the green community for materials and chemicals deemed unhealthy. But very few of us have ever experienced truly devastatingly toxic conditions: the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster near Pripyat, Russia, and the now equally-ominous and increasingly risky situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Russian photographer Elena Filatova has returned to Chernobyl's "dead zone" repeatedly over the last decade to document the area's isolation. Ghost Town is both a glimpse into the life, the movement, and the history of the people who lived near Chernobyl and were forced to flee, as well as a reflection on the ways nature both succumbs and overcomes the disasters we throw upon it.
From Elena Filatova's blog:
At first glance, Ghost Town seems like a normal town. There is a taxi stop, a grocery store, someone's wash hangs from the balcony and the windows are open. But then I see a slogan on a building that says - "The Party of Lenin Will Lead Us To The Triumph Of Communism"... and I realize that those windows were opened to the spring air of April of 1986.
Each time I pass into the zone, I feel that I have entered an unreal world. In the dead zone, the silence of the villages, roads, and woods seem to tell something at me...something that I strain to hear...something that attracts and repels me both at the same time. It is divinely eerie - like stepping into that Salvador Dali painting with the dripping clocks... The silence here is deafening.
(Images: Elena Filatova)