They used to live near Chernobyl, in the shadow of the nuclear power plant that symbolized the prowess which the great Soviet people had, their mastery of machinery. A lot of people worked there. They had even been built a city for them: Pripyat, with a population of 49,000, just three kilometers from Ukraine’s power plant and the ill‑fated Reactor No. 4.
On April 27, 1986, the city of Pripyat was evacuated in the space of a few hours.
Many of the residents of Pripyat now live in Kiev, in outlying districts of what is now the independent, sovereign state of Ukraine. They were rehoused a few days after the disaster. These people, the “Chernobylsty,” have stayed together, forming a sort of ghetto, bound together by memories, disease, poverty and the death of loved ones.
The radioactivity recorded at the time the photo was taken is noted for each picture in the Chernobylsty series by Guillaume Herbaut. A normal level is between 10 and 20 microrems.