Author(s): Nadav Kander
Nadav Kander (born 1961) is a recipient of the renowned Prix Pictet and one of today's most successful photographers. Upon learning of the existence of two "closed" cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia, he decided to visit them. For "Dust "he photographed the desolated landscapes of the Aral Sea and the restricted military zones of Priozersk and Kurtchatov, which did not appear on any map until well after the end of the Cold War. Long-distance missiles were secretly tested in Priozersk, and hundreds of atomic bombs were detonated in the so-called Polygon near Kurchatov, until the program ended in 1989. The bombs were exploded in a remote but still populated area, and covert studies were made of the effects of the radiation on the unsuspecting inhabitants. Kander describes how the ticking of the Geiger counter on his belt while he photographed served as a foil against the aesthetic allure of the ruins.