Disposable citizens is a photography project that reveals images made by people who live in the radiated landscape around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine.
Participants were given disposable cameras and asked to show what it is like to live in the shadow of nuclear disaster.
‘Disposable’ not only stands for the photographic medium used (outmoded single-use 35mm film cameras), but also the way many people feel they have been treated by the state. Many people who live with Chernobyl believe they are regarded as disposable citizens, abandoned by the government to an uncertain future.
The images they made provide an intimate look into the hidden geographies of Chernobyl. In a landscape where the specter of radiation is inherently invisible, being able to see spaces beyond the observable becomes all the more important. It is an ephemeral search for“spaces that cannot be seen” (de Certeau 1984).
For a more detailed academic perspective on the project see this article.