tak… Chernobyl Photo Log

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tak… Chernobyl Photo Log is a poignant look at what remains today from the Chernobyl accident. In 1986, The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, which led to evacuations, the loss of several lives, and communities buried. Hyun Kyu Seo takes a trip to Ukraine to explore the life within the zone today as well as remembering the life uprooted during the disaster. Seo puts together stunning photographs that highlight different aspects of her journey, and she uses these images to honor those lives gone.

Compassion shines through Seo’s voice and through the specific choices of photographs, which invoke strong emotions. Each image allows for a moment of reflection with several poignant moments standing out, including a shot of signs depicting the towns affected by the disaster. One of the aspects captured is an utter stillness, which is seen through the empty apartment buildings, deserted classrooms with books lying scattered, and even an eerie shot of an old Tigger toy limp on a post. Each moment chosen by Seo feels specific to hit upon this life uprooted in the middle of a normal day, which leaves a feeling of being frozen in time as everything is empty, showing the life that once was. The theme of remembrance is seen through every image and in every moment of Seo’s journey.

The photos track Seo’s journey from entrance to exit, looking at daily life, the visitor area, and even at the food. Seo uses a conversational tone through segments of commentary made throughout to describe location to location, which effectively makes you feel like a part of the journey and weaves in a lightness derived from a variety of humorous moments throughout the journey. It is significant how well Seo chooses photos that define the past while giving a chance for the future. The life after Chernobyl is depicted through a variety of images, but the ones that show it the best are the ones of the dogs living in the zone, including the sweet companionship she found in a dog named Tarzan.

Daily life is also glimpsed through images of the workers and families living there, which shows how time still moved forward and still created life in the littlest of ways despite the disaster. Seo isn’t aiming at teaching the history of the Chernobyl accident, but rather attempts to show what it’s like today while honoring the memory of everything that occurred, hitting on the idea that life can still form in the wake of a disaster and find a way to continue. Through stunning images, Seo reveals the cultural impact of the Chernobyl disaster in this poignant and important photo journal. This is perfect for those who love history, crave a little inspiration in life, and appreciate breathtaking photography.

Reviewed By:

Author Hyun Kyu Seo
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 236 pages
Publisher Self-published
Publish Date 2019-04-26
ISBN 9780578466705
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Travel


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