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David McMillan

Winnipeg, Manitoba
[Dundee, Scotland, 1945]

Shortly after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, 135,000 people were evacuated from an area extending 30 kilometers around the damaged reactor. In 1994, eight years after the accident, I read a magazine article describing the condition of the area, which became known as the exclusion zone. Many of the artifacts of the citizenry were left behind, and thousands of acres of formerly productive farmland were left to lie fallow. My photographic interests had long been in the relationship between nature and culture, so the subject seemed very rich in possibilities. I was intrigued enough to arrange a visit, and in October of 1994, I went to photograph the exclusion zone for the first time. Even though the area was closely guarded, I was permitted to travel and photograph freely. I recognized that the subject was large and complex, offering me the opportunity of making photographs that couldn’t be made anywhere else. These photographs are the result of seventeen visits.

The exclusion zone is a remarkable and surprising place, not dead and static, as one would expect, but full of growth and change.

Growth & Decay
To view some comparative sets of photographs taken in various locations that David has re-visited in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone over the years, see Growth & Decay.

The CCCA Winnipeg Artists Project was generously supported by the Winnipeg Foundation.

Email Contact: David McMillan

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