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Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl Hardcover – July 2, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1984, forced the immediate evacuation of more than 116,000 people from that part of the Ukraine, which was subsequently declared unfit for human habitation. Fifteen years and more than 350,000 evacuations later, photographer Polidori (Havana) returned to shoot vacant apartment blocks, highways, classrooms, and dachas being reclaimed by the forest, and the frightening control rooms themselves. As Polidori writes: "Does any generation have the right to risk the safety of so many future generations?... I felt personally compelled to confront and witness this ongoing tragedy that no ritual can heal." The result is 190 color photos that give this 15" x 11" book a deeply haunting quality.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Robert Polidori was born in Montreal in 1951 and lives in New York City. His work has been shown in Paris, Brasilia, New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Geo and Architectural Digest (Germany). Polidori has received numerous awards.
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Top customer reviews
However, the book contains almost no text, and this weakens it. There is no discussion of the places shown in the photographs, or what happened in each setting. There is no pairing of before and after photographs. There is no discussion of how, technically, Polidori took the photographs. I would have preferred to see all three of these things.
There are other sources, of course. A recent issue of National Geographic used the 20th anniversary of the disaster as its cue to cover this ground (and with some very similar photos too). However, this was a missed chance by Polidori.
Also, I found the array of photographs of little houses being reclaimed by the forest to be less interesting than Polidori probably expected. The urban photos were much more compelling.
This edition has equivalent publishing quality as this one reviewed but is far more choicier regarding content. I didnt bought it though, instead ordered the present one, I wanted to have it more "complete" and it was a poor choice as a matter of fact.
The good thing to say about the present book in comparison is that it has a uniform mood, artificialy created, as you pour through from cover to cover. A feeling wich I could better describe as desolation.
On the other hand it gets repetitive and even solemn ( for example on the blank sheets following some reproduction ) its a book you look at once, like a long silent film, and than display it to your guests.
Im not saying its a bad book, it just a bit tiresome, even sentimentalist for that matter.
This is not an essential book.
Based on the comparison of this two books only, the advice id like someone to have given myself back then is that: On a Polidori's compilation you get more that you loose.
The story of what happened is barely touched upon, but this book is a photo representation of what is left behind, and not a story about what happened. I have no problem looking elsewhere to find the history of the accident, and think the book stands alone as a stunning pictorial depiction of what can go wrong in the nuclear age. One of my favorite photo books in any genre.