Darren Nisbett: Chernobyl


Darren Nisbett
and I share a common experience of the Chernobyl disaster, both British with strong memories of the events of April 1986 which, as Darren says, "got buried in the process of growing up, surfacing now and then through documentaries, movies and even video games." In 2010, he began his project.

"Walking around the ghost town of Pripyat, a city that once was the home to over 50,000 people, you can't help noticing the silence. Very few birds sing around this area and you are always aware of an invisible poison in the air, even if levels are safe enough that humans can spend prolonged amounts of time there without adverse health risks. There are areas where this radiation is still high though, certain metal objects and vehicles that were exposed during the accident, some buildings and, most noticeably, vast pools of moss which unlike the leaves on the trees, endure the cold winters and hot summers."

"My photography project spanned two trips to the exclusion zone, known as the 'zone of alienation'. The images are taken with a camera converted to capture in Infrared: a filter covers the sensor and blocks out the colour part of the spectrum. This creates higher contrast in the textures of the concrete and picks up the reflected chlorophyll in the plants making them almost glow; these combine to produce eerie images which show nature growing, surviving and reclaiming a city that the world's worst nuclear accident had rendered uninhabitable for humans."
View the full screen magazine photo feature.

There is an extensive personal diary and more images from the project at Darren's Dark Optics website. An exhibition opens July 1st at Rhubarb and Custard, Eton, UK.

Pripyat © Darren Nisbett

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