Kazuma Obara, Exposure - Everlasting
(Barcelona: Editorial RM, 2017)
I worked with the young photographer Kazuma Obara to edit the text for his multi-part book project looking at the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath.
Thirty years have passed since the world’s worst nuclear accident, which occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former Soviet Union (now the Ukraine). Photojournalist Kazuma Obara traveled in the Ukraine from February 2015 to April 2016. His project 30 portrays people with a connection to the explosion, whose lives were altered by the sudden release of atomic energy and the subsequent political strife. To depict this, Obara has challenged traditional visual representation by creating three different kinds of object: two photobooks and a replica of a newspaper.
The photobook Exposure depicts the first thirty years in the life of an invisible girl who suffers ongoing medical problems as a result of the disaster. The images were created by using old color negatives found in the abandoned city of Pripyat. Another photobook, Everlasting, captures the commute by workers at the plant from their hometowns to Chernobyl, as a metaphor for the cycle of repetition. Decontamination work has been handed down from generation to generation since the accident. Given the difficulty of dealing with radioactive waste, it seems this process could go on forever. Complementing the two photobooks, the replica of an old newspaper contemporary with the disaster, also found in Pripyat, helps to convey the passage of time.