Chernobyl Swimming

By Thom Davis

Thom Davies

“Vadim (aged 13) launches himself out of a river that runs through one of the most polluted places on Earth; the Chernobyl ‘Zone of Alienation’ in northern Ukraine.”

"He lives in an economically marginalised village that is on the edge of this nuclear wasteland, often swimming in the river and playing in the surrounding abandoned buildings. The electricity pylons in the background once buzzed with power from the now destroyed reactor, but are now silent.

Though radiation is invisible to both the human eye and the photographer's lens, its impacts can be made tangible by the testimonies and lived-experiences of those who struggle to survive on the margins of the dead zone, and society.

My Geography PhD uses photography as a research tool to see into the hidden spaces of everyday-life that have emerged in post-Chernobyl Ukraine. Many participants were given disposable cameras in order to document their own experiences in this neglected and radiated landscape."

Thom Davis is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences