Chernobyl, once just an old-fashioned town in the Ukraine one hundred kilometers from Kiev, is synonymous with the biggest nuclear disaster in human history. April 2011 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accident that took hundreds of lives and forced thousands of people living in the surrounding towns and villages to leave their homeland. Since 2008, photographer Andrej Krementschouk has taken several trips to Chernobyl, venturing into the restricted thirty-kilometer zone of alienation around the reactor.

According to Krementschouk, “There’s something almost magical about the zone. Nature grows exuberantly, wild animals reproduce. There are even people living in Chernobyl, which isn’t quite as contaminated with radiation as Prypjat. They have returned to their homes, where they can feel free. Having been born here they refuse to leave, even if that could mean they will have to die sooner.”

Andrej Krementschouk’s first book, No Direction Home (2009), was a 2010 German Photo Book Award and PDN Photo Annual Award winner. His second book, Come Bury Me, was released in 2010. His forthcoming book Chernobyl Zone (I), published by Kehrer Verlag, will be available in the U.S. in September 2011.

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