March 5, 2004 - 2:56 am Comments Off on Wormwood

This photoessay is written by a woman who grew up in the USSR and now rides her motorcycle around the Russian countryside. Her destination? The area around Chernobyl, where a nuclear reactor’s accident in the mid-80s killed hundreds of thousands of people. The radiation levels have subsided enough to make travel possible, although you have to go through radiation checkpoints where they will give you a chemical shower if you are above the redline. She has pictures of someone’s house with items sitting there as they were left – medication, some child’s doll. A large city, totally abandoned. The tourists who take excursions to the area quite often complain that they can’t stand the silence.

Haunting. Desperately sad. Some of the old people are moving back into their deadly homes. They don’t care if they die, as long as they do it at home.

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