Wastelands Gymnasium Pripyat Ukraine
Gymnasium II, 2003, Ukraine.
The city of Pripyat lies abandoned next to the Chernobyl nuclear power station. In April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear accident the world has seen contaminated large areas of Europe with radioactive fallout. Vast areas of land around the reactor make up the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The area is now an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Wastelands is a journey into abandoned and transient spaces in Australia and Europe. Over a number of years I’ve travelled with a large format camera to record some of the unusual ways that buildings decline, and the more unusual ways that space is reordered.
A common practice is to transform abandoned industrial sites into modern centres of consumption. Old industrial centres often find new life as shopping centres. But family fun parks in abandoned nuclear power stations and the prospect of a European wilderness in Chernobyl reveal that landscape is never a finished project, nor what we always expect.
Large format photography has had a long association with architecture and landscape. It expands detail and corrects perspective, often recording more than we can actually see, compelling us to look longer.