Prypiat, Ukraine

I’m not quite sure what it is that fascinates me about abandoned structures (ghost malls, disused freeways, etc.) and dying remote outposts (like Resolute, Nunavut). Maybe it’s the potential to explore the mystery behind the downfall of a place. Maybe it’s apocalyptic fear. Maybe it’s a melancholy over the crushed hopes and dreams of the developers who created these places. At any rate, whenever I hear about something like the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, I have to learn more. Or more specifically, I have to see pictures.

Prypiat was a moderately-sized city of about 50,000 residents, located about a mile from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. At least, it was a moderately-sized city up until the disaster in 1986 that turned it into a ghost town.

T. A. Mousseau, a biologist from the University of South Carolina (of all places) is one of the leading researchers on the effects of the Chernobyl explosion and subsequent radioactive fallout on wildlife in the area. Humans have been banned from within a 30-km radius of the site, but plants and animals are on their own.

As genuinely useful as studying the effects of the radiation on wildlife may be to productive civilization, I am most interested in vicariously exploring the urban wasteland left behind, and fortunately, Mousseau was kind enough to oblige my interests with a photo gallery of scenes from post-Chernobyl Prypiat. Further research (thanks of course to Wikipedia) led me to this fascinating photo gallery.

New pictures are up… (finally!)

It’s been on the back burner for months because I was trying to figure out some of the more cumbersome aspects of integrating WordPress with Gallery2.

Here’s the first gallery, of photos from the first half of 2007. 97 photos for your enjoyment. In order to view that link, you’ll first need to register for an account, and then let me know you’re signed up so I can set you up with gallery access.

Once I get all of the kinks worked out, it’s going to be pretty cool. The new software lets you rate and comment on photos, view them in several different sizes, see all of the “meta data” about the photos (date and time, shutter speed, etc.), and with just a few clicks you can even order photo-quality prints (of any of the photos) from Shutterfly and they’ll mail them to you. (Some of the prints are pretty expensive, but a 4×6 is only 19 cents.)