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Inside the Exclusion Zone, Chernobyl. A statue of Lenin on an overgrown town square is all that remains of a contaminated village that was demolished and buried. The Chernobyl accident released 500 times the radiation of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. The radioactive material released into the atmosphere included several tons of uranium dioxide fuel and products such as caesium 137, iodine 131, strontium 90 and tons of burning, radiation-contaminated graphite.
Pripyat Cultural Centre, Chernobyl. Spare paintings are stored in the basement. Before the Chernobyl disaster, Pripyat was a model Soviet town. Appropriate portraits were hung to honour the many visiting dignitaries, and then replaced for the next guest. The painting in the foreground is Mikhail Gorbachev.
School class room, Pripyat, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Failure in testing an emergency system led to the shutdown of a reactor, inadvertently triggering an explosion at 1.23 am on April 26, 1986. Only a few kilometres from the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor, Pripyat was built as a model Soviet town with many additional facilities and privileges to attract the scientific elite.
Chernobyl, Ukraine. Once a year there is a visitor’s day for residents who were removed from the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl in the days following the disaster. Residents were evacuated by bus and train, and told to bring only a few items of clothing, as they would be back in a few days. Here people have a souvenir photograph beneath the "Welcome to Pripyt" sign.
Ship breakers, Bangladesh. A group of boys return from a night shift of ship breaking. Many of the boys will come as a group from a village, sent by their families who are unable to survive on farming alone. They keep costs down by sharing a single room near the shipyard, and cook meals together. The money they save is taken to the families twice a year.
Chittagong, Bangladesh. On the Southern end of the 60km beach near Chittagong, a hulk has been dragged onto the beach to be dismantled with sledgehammers and blowtorches. A boat this size will take about three months working day and night. The work is dangerous, particularly at night. Explosions from gas pockets, dangerous chemicals and falling steel are just some of the challenges that the workers face for the $2 earned on a twelve-hour shift.
Ship Breaking, Bangladesh. At dawn workers start a shift on a 60km stretch of beach near Chittagong. An area that used to be dotted with fishing villages is now devoted to ship breaking. As the ships are not cleaned out before they arrive, any on-board oil and chemicals end up on the beach, the toxic contents of about 100 ships a year.
Sitakunda, Bangladesh. Lifeboats for sale. Purchased from recycled tankers, these lifeboats are in demand by fisherman and the preferred mode of transport on the cyclone-prone Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh Shipyards. Moffazal Hossen, 34, started working in the shipyards ten years ago when he could no longer support his family through farming. He is in charge of a wire group that carries thick steel cables out to the hulks, which are used to drag the ship closer to shore, so that less labour is required to get steel to the yard. He takes his family money twice a year.
Sitakunda, Bangladesh. Workers returning after a 12-hour night shift for the ship-breakers. Many of these men were farmers or fishermen who were unable to support families. By working on the ships they earn $2 per day, and go home every six months to give the family money. As there are so few other options for work in Bangladesh, there are many people waiting for such jobs.
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea. A man stands in front of a hut that has commandeered a billboard as useful waterproofing. The people of the Wahgi Valley had no contact with the outside world until 1933, when gold prospector Mick Leahy walked in hoping to find large gold deposits. He did not succeed, but the people of the valley learnt there was a world outside.
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