This week I thought I wouldn’t do one particular artist that influenced me. Sometimes it can be something else, and sometimes that something else is a place. For me that place is Pripyat. For those that don’t know, when the disaster happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant on the 26th of April in 1986 a small workers town nearby, Pripyat, was evacuated and no one has lived there since. So for almost 30 years the town has remained silent.
I don’t remember when I became fascinated by the town, but it has had a very strong influence on me and my art practice. I think also with all the talk about global warming and climate change the idea of a whole community having to leave and their homes are just left, is something that needs to be considered.
The disaster is not what has fascinated me, it is what happens to a place when there are no people around to maintain it. How fast does nature take it back. How does it deteriorate. I find this idea so interesting. I can’t explain why, but it is what I am interested in, how nature takes it back.
I think once you realise this is something that has had a profound influence on me, then you can understand where much of the my work has come from.
When I was at the VCA for my final project I made a kitchen. It is life size, and I filled it with things you would find in a kitchen. The little things were made out of clay, and were cast from real items. It was left without colour so you would just look and not get distracted by the colours. The idea was to make it look like a kitchen that had been left, as though the breakfast dishes were still on the table, that things were still in the sink and stuff was just left. It was all about things just being left.
It certainly had an impact.
So my own work, since I got back into photography has been along similar lines. Not all of it, but for me the work that I really want to do is this idea of a ghost city, or abandoned places.
This is a place in the city, it certainly hasn’t been abandoned and people walk through here all the time, but I like how it looks with no one here, with nothing but silence. My work is silent, I think that is the best way to describe it.
I have a lot more images for you to see about Pripyat and a couple of Chernobyl.
I hope this hasn’t been too depressing, but I find the images fascinating. If I had a chance to go there, I would in a second, then I could get the images I wanted.
It is sad to think that towns are being abandoned all over the world, and Australia is no different. The mining industry builds towns then moves on. I hope to explore some in the next few years. Though my ultimate goal is to start making the world we live in now start looking as though it is abandoned. I have a lot of work to do.
The images from today have come from the following sites.
I also know that some of the images are by photography Robert Polidori who produced a book called Zones of Exclusion, which I have, a fantastic book.