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Serge Van Cauwenbergh July 18, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.

Olga, Chernobyl, Russia 2006

Serge Van Cauwenbergh (b. 1973, Belgium) is a documentary and humanitarian photographer covering social issues, creating photo essays for ngo’s and humanitarian aid organizations. He is mainly a self-taught photographer, but also completed a degree in Photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. He is interested in how people are dealing with the circumstances they have to live in; how are they handling new opportunities or changes in today’s society; how are they coping with the consequences of a disaster, depression, decease or dementia. He focuses on elements in their life that are perishable, details that are often overlooked and will otherwise be forgotten in time.

About the Photograph:

“In 2006 I visited Ukraine and the Zones of Exclusion to work on a photo essay about Chernobyl and the aftermath of the disaster.  I was introduced to several elderly people who are still living in Chernobyl and the surrounding areas. They witnessed everything up close and returned to their houses weeks and months after the nuclear disaster, some even claim they never left the area. Olga is one of them. Her house is located just outside the town center of Chernobyl. The moment I entered the porch she told me that photographers and film crew regularly visit the area, some even dare to shoot in her yard without asking permission first.  She has always been a housewife, her husband was working for the community service. He passed away a few years ago. About the disaster itself she remembers that everything went very chaotic and information was scarce. At that time the true scale of the disaster was concealed, she says. From all of my visits in the area I learned that these people are still very disappointed how the government dealt with this disaster.”