The Masks We Never Wore

chernobyl,prypiat,gas,mask,nuclear,power plant




A recent travel to Ukraine served as a perfect excuse to visit  a place that had been on the waiting list for some time, the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the adjacent city of Pripyat  A new sarcophagus is now being finished, and soon the iconic chimney of the 80s will forever disappear inside the new structure, making these some of the last days one can still see it. 

Much has been written about it, so contrary to my typical posts, I will not enter into details regarding the historical facts. Suffice to remember that, on the 26th April 1986, a disaster occurred at reactor No. 4, caused by an unfortunate combination of human error and a technically flawed design, which lead to what has been widely regarded as the worst accident in the history of nuclear power. As a result, reactor No. 4 was completely destroyed and has since been enclosed in a concrete and lead sarcophagus to prevent further escape of radioactivity. 

Contrary to the impression it might convey, the gas masks in the photo above were never used because of the accident: during the cold war, they were meant to protect the population from an omnipresent fear of a nuclear or chemical attack by the western countries. Ironically as fate would have it, the radiation would never arrive from above the ocean, but instead from a couple of miles away from the school’s backyard. The people, unaware of the situation during the first hours, never used them before being evacuated — they were told it would be for only three days, but little did they know that they would never came back.
Regarding the processing, this time it was just a single bracket (no hdr), slightly retouched in photoshop.