TAK… Chernobyl Photo Log
TAK…Chernobyl Photo Log catalogs the experience of Hyun Seo when he traveled to Ukraine, and most importantly, to Chernobyl. because of a love for all things Eastern European his interest in video games, namely S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, he felt an emotional connection to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a result of the infamous nuclear powerplant disaster back in 1986. Seo decided to publish his documentation of the visit in the hope that others will see the beauty of this derelict area.
In addition to his interest in the landscape, Seo wanted to know what life was like for the residents of Chernobyl before the accident. Using photography, painting, and digital illustration, and commentary, he documents his stay in this book. The pictures he provides are very detailed and show how life might have been in Chernobyl, a place that still looks livable despite its decline in residents. He then visited Pripyat, a town near the Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant. These images, which appear to have been stopped in time, allow the viewer to enter the shoes of the citizens of these towns. You will be amazed at what they had to go through.
I did not have much previous knowledge of Chernobyl, so I found this book informative, but not so much so that it felt like a chore to read. I would classify Seo’s work as coffee-table material, but a little deeper than most of what you would normally pick up to read on the couch. Seo’s love of the area and his previous knowledge of the Russian language and culture were exhibited strongly in his work as he gave humorous and thoughtful commentary throughout and could translate many signs and writings he found during his visit.
It is hard to imagine what life was like during this devastating event for several reasons, one of which is that the accident was handled very differently in 1986 than it would have been in 2019. As someone who doesn’t have to rely on my fight-or-flight response too much, it is hard to know how I would have felt (scared, shocked?). It is also difficult to imagine how living under the Soviet regime affected the way these disasters felt for the people and were handled. Since we cannot really play the “what-if” game, we have to see this event what it was and realize that even though this horrible thing happened, we can still focus on the beauty around us instead of the gloom.
|Hyun Kyu Seo
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