It was in 1991 that Seiichi Motohashi visited the area polluted by the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl for the first time, 5 years after the accident.
Standing in front of the fourth nuclear reactor - nicknamed “stone tomb” -, he thought it a place he was not going to visit a second time. Meeting children at the hospital suffering from thyroid gland poisoning or leukaemia, he thought himself unable to take photos. But then, having met the people of Chechersk, who continue living the polluted area, he found himself coming back to the area every now and then.
People who cannot find it within them to separate from this place and all its surviving natural beauty. “Anywhere else I would go, I would find human pollution anyway”, an old man says.
With people occupying the area or not, the signs indicating strong radioactive pollution continue to stand.
But to the people labelled Samosely (“self-settlers”), this land means home, from which they find it hard to separate. With no particular ties to the surrounding civilisation, they live life their own way, raising pigs and cows, cultivating potatoes, hunting deer. In the polluted area, the flowers and trees grow sprouts, as the four seasons come and go.
A photo collection about a primeval, living landscape that, 30 years after Chernobyl and 5 years after the Fukushima incident, again gathers attention.
— From the publisher’s press release