Chernobyl 30 years later, photographed with Nikon

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Chernobyl, 30 years later photographed by André Joosse

Nikon photographer André Joosse visited the Chernobyl forbidden zone to document 30 years of exclusion (Chernobyl website,  WebsiteInstagramFacebook):

Pripyat skyline with the power plant on the horizon

I am a photographer from the Netherlands. I travel and shoot abandoned buildings and structures. You can see my work at . After exploring most European countries I made the photographers’ ultimate trip to the Exclusion Zone of the Chernobyl power plant.
The Chernobyl disaster took place on April 1986, which will be exactly 30 years ago this month. Failures during a system test of the nuclear power plant lead to explosions in its core. Large quantities of radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere which then spread over much of the western U.S.S.R. and Europe. The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history in terms of costs and casualties.

After evacuation they set up a 30 kilometer zone around the power plant which is fenced off and guarded. You can only visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with the permission of the government and with a guide. In the past two years I had the opportunity to go there for seven days in total.

I used my Nikon D800 in 2014 and my Nikon D750 in 2015. The first day I packed my bag with several lenses and my D700 as backup body. Due to radiation safety it was not allowed to put your bag on the ground. Also, there was too much dust to change lenses. From then on I started to travel light with just one body and one lens. In 2014 I used my Nikkor 20-35mm 2.8. and last year I used the Tamron 15-30 2.8.

A street in Pripyat, nature takes over

The Ferris wheel in Pripyat park

Most days I spent in the city of Pripyat. A city built in the 1970s to house power plant workers and family. It used to be a beautiful city with luxury and class. Today it’s completely sealed off and left to nature. Here are some photos taken in the city center of Pripyat.

The gym of the technical high school

The supermarket

The hairdresser

A kindergarten

The gym in the Palace of Culture

Further south I visited the abandoned army base Chernobyl-2, known for its Duga over-the-horizon radar system. The radar was built during the Cold War to protect the Soviets from the West. Besides the radar there was a small military town. I visited the social center with a gym, cinema and theater. There was also a small hospital, a school and kindergarten.

Lenin welcomes you to Chernobyl-2

The radar

The theater

A wall in the kindergarten

Hidden in the forrest between Chernobyl and Pripyat lies a holiday camp. The Emerald holiday camp is where the children of Pripyat would spent their summer holidays. The camp has many wooden huts with bright colored murals showing cartoon characters.

The colorful huts

The swing

Mural art on the cinema

If you would like to see more photos from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone please visit

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