Pripyat in Panoramas project

Is a serie of panoramic photographs shot in Pripyat ghost town of Chernobyl exclusion zone.

- ⚛ -

Pripyat is abandoned ghost town in northern Ukraine.

  Pripyat town was founded on 4 February 1970, it was named as river near by. It was built near by new Chernobyl nuclear power plant (only 3 km away) for workers and their families, it was ninth closed town like that in Soviet Union. Pripyat became very fast growing town, modern, green and compact, surrounded by beautiful forests and fields. New successful ideas was used in district’s planning, some stereotypes was broken to make life in town more comfortable. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979. This newborn town became one of the exemplary towns in USSR. It was decorated with many pieces of soviet art like wall mosaics, wall paintings and stained glass compositions. Population was growing very fast, many young families settled there and many babies start to appear. Witnesses calls Pripyat town of children and flowers. By 1986 population had grown to more than a 49000 with middle age of citizens is 26 years old. Town still was expanding and already had Palace of culture, swimming pool, stadium, bus and railway stations, river port, big secret factory, cinema, 25 shops, hospitals, school of arts, 5 kindergartens, 5 schools… You may take a look at a short documentary about how Pripyat was built here (please use captions for translation). On the afternoon of April 27, 1986 all population of Pripyat town was hurriedly evacuated. It happened the day after the Chernobyl disaster. People could not take any goods with them and thought that it is not for long. But they never came back.

- ☢ -

About Project

  Dear Visitor, my name is Stanislav Vederskyi, I am photographer from Kyiv, Ukraine. I was interested in urbex photography for a long time. Especially I loved panoramas of abandoned places. I decided to start creating panoramas myself. It appeared to be technically difficult process but very interesting. I start to shoot panoramas of derelict interiors in Kyiv. Results was satisfying but it was very difficult to find interesting locations and get inside the abandoned buildings in Kyiv. From that time I have small and unfinished serie of panoramas called “Kyiv Abandoned”, you may see them here. Then I turned my attention to Pripyat. This ghost town was always very popular among photographers, extreme and dark tourists and it was very close to where I live. Influence of the Chernobyl zone in culture, computer games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Call of Duty, insane pictures from there, radioactive pollution, tragedy, fiction stories and many more factors made this place enigmatic and desired place to see alive. I decided to get there. First time I visited Pripyat abandoned town with big group and spent only one day in the zone. It was very fast tour around main locations with very short stops. I was mesmerized by post-apocalyptic beauty and size of this derelict town and wish to come back there alone and explore more. Also I found that among huge amount of photographs from Pripyat there are very few panoramas. It was my call to make something special – create big serie of panoramic photographs of Pripyat. I found the way how to manage my personal visit to the zone. Finally it was only me, my guide, driver, Pripyat and no one else. I was exploring around with my photo gear freely in this strange and mystical place. It was amazing! In several visits I spent 20 days shooting photographs for multirow panoramas in Pripyat ghost town.
  Back to a work done – I made more than 60000 shots in Pripyat. This is material for more than 400 panoramas. I could not photograph everything, I wish to see more, but anyway I covered many interesting locations. I’m processing my panoramas bit by bit, it will take me years to stitch and edit all of them. Final results of my work are big photo prints. Also I plan to publish a book after I will finish postprocessing of all my works.

- -