My friend, a good Russian photographer Dmitry Fomichev took this photo of me on the roof of the abandoned building in the ghost town of Pripyat (Ukraine).
We came to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in April of 2008 to photograph the aftermath of the worst nuclear plant accident in human history.
After visiting Chernobyl and Pripyat we went to search for the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone’s illegal residents, who returned to their homes despite the all prohibitions. In a small abandoned village of Paryschiv, we met a 79-year-old babushka Maria Grigorievna. She lived alone in the whole village, returned there from Kyiv after her two sons died from cancer, caused by radiation. The road to her place were locked and guarded by the police and travel was allowed only with a special permit.
I don’t know how this Babushka managed to survive there alone, but she seemed to be very happy. She invited us to her house and we had a lunch together. All the food was from her small vegetable garden. Maria Grigorievna assured us that the food was “clean” and there was nothing to be afraid of. We didn’t want to upset her and had to believe. I ate an egg and bread with honey.
After we came back, I wrote a story about our trip to Chernobyl and about this Babushka. It was published a year later in Portugal.