I’ve been photographing for the bigger part of my life, and the analog side of photography always fascinated me. After I graduated from college as a photographer, I stopped photographing for about five years. My dad passed away around that time and I couldn’t get myself to pick up the camera.

After a while, it came back little by little and I started thinking about a project I could do to go all out so to speak – something that aligns with my interests but was special enough to be at least somewhat unique. A healthy interest in radioactivity and all scientific aspects of it translated into a, well, strange obsession with the exclusion zone around Chernobyl in Ukraine. I was researching a lot about the safety aspects and the possibility for photography around the zone. I’ve read about some photographers that arranged private guides, so that’s what we did. We booked a week to Ukraine and spend two full days in the zone. We slept in the small town of Chernobyl, ate the local cuisine, met the locals. I brought my Hasselblad 500C with me, I also brought my Canon 40D with me for additional photography and my EOS 200 was operated by my husband so he could make a kind of diary on Fuji Neopan 1600 ISO black and white film.

The trip brought some challenges with it. We couldn’t put anything on the floor, so no gear on the floor.. I took my Lowepro Flipside backpack so I could flip the backpack in front of me and have access to the contents. I had a harness on my hip and chest on which I could carry my Hasselblad and Canon 40D. It was heavy, it was hot, it was humid. But it was totally worth it. I used lead-lined protective bags to protect my film from the background radiation, just in case. Check out the photographs below, these are all analog photographs from the Hasselblad 400C. Later I published it in a limited edition hardcover book (second print sold out).

It turned out to be the therapy I needed to process my dad’s passing, so I dedicated the book to both my parents. My husband, brother, sister-in-law and a close friend all helped with the creation of the book from editorial to design.

Forest around the town of Pripyat

The pool in Pripyat

Locals still living in the exclusion zone

Farmers’ shed

Middle school Pripyat

The Duga-3 array

Utility tunnels under the Duga-3 array

In an abandoned military base near Duga-3

In the Pripyat hospital

The natural light in the zone is breathtaking

Staged scene in one of the first buildings you come across while entering the zone

Music book from a school in Pripyat

Me in full gear in Pripyat