Frozen Moments in Time

Last week, we discussed a photo essay called “Havana Nights” which gives the city of Havana, Cuba an empty and eerily desolate look. That photo article made me remember this other photography article I read a few years back. It’s a series of photographs taken by a woman touring one of the most abandoned places on earth: Chernobyl.

Chernobyl is something of a watchword for many of us. If you were old enough to remember it, then it and Three Mile Island are inedible memories. So, when we look at photos from inside the “Dead Zone,” for a lot of us, it’s like looking back on the remnants of an abandoned childhood. I can remember wearing similar style dresses as the girls in Chapter 18 are sporting. A lot of the toys and even the phones from that era look like they would have been common in my own home. The village and the area around the reactor are great places for historians and photographers because they really do represent a single frozen moment in time.

It’s eerie to think of places like that. People who have taken the tour of the Dead Zone (and yes, you can visit it) say that the silence is deafening. There are no familiar sounds we associate with even the smallest towns. No distant cars. No airplanes. No buzzing on the electrical lines. Just silence. It’s pretty spooky.

What are some other abandoned places that photographers might like to visit? If you could go to one of them, would you? Let us know in the comments below!

— da Bird

PS: When this photo site was first published, it was one of the earliest examples on the Internet of urban exploration. Initially, the writer behind the site claimed to have taken the photographs during a motorcycle tour of the Dead Zone. However, unauthorized persons are not permitted inside the Dead Zone. Only workers and agents monitoring the area come in their own vehicles. Everyone else, including the woman behind the photographs, comes in as part of one of the tour groups.