In the last 25 years, photographer David McMillan went back to Chernobyl and Pripyat over twenty times, and collected all his photographical material in a book titled The Zone that brings us testimonies of the desolation reigning over the exclusion zone.
It was the night of April 26,1986, when one of the reactors at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. The roof was destroyed, and a cloud of radioactive material was generated. In the following two weeks, it caused the death of thousands of people, and over 350,000 were evacuated. A few days after the accident, a so-called exclusion zone was established on a 30 km2area around the plant, and its inhabitants had to flee their homes.
The Chernobyl disaster is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, a horrible story that marked and changed the past few decades.
David McMillan defied the dangers of contamination to bring us testimonies of time’s effects on a place that could otherwise have gone forgotten, buried under the passing years.
In 1994, during his first journey through the exclusion zone, the photographer was not sure of what he would find. Now his shots reveal it. In 1986, the evacuation came so unexpected that people had to leave their homes, offices, schools and public buildings right on the spot, and David found the city just as it was left.
Going back regularly to these same places has also allowed him to capture the marks that the passing of time has been leaving on them. On the crumbling walls, in the nature that takes over playgrounds and buildings, on the decaying books and billboards.
And yet, although objects and buildings will eventually go lost, the people they belonged to will not be forgotten.