My parents moved to a little village when I was a child. I tried to get along with the local community by going to church and sport activities but I was a strange little boy so it didn’t work. I eventually ended up in a field with other kids throwing rocks and objects at me. I rejected them all, rejected the community and their religion, I started to build my own little world for myself.
I guess I didn’t change so much since then. My only way to live in this world without turning insane is to build my own little imaginary world in my head and take refuge there every once in a while. I guess you can call that a soft madness in a way.
My time, as I see it, is overwhelmed with noise, pollution, humans everywhere, industrial zones, roads and fences contaminating the country, imprisoned cattle. In Chernobyl, everything was quiet and silent. If anything, it was a painful reminder of how the world would have been if not for the cancerous industrialisation and urbanisation.
I was always fascinated by this place, ever since the disaster in 1986. It was a mysterious, apocalyptic catastrophe, something about it sounded almost mythological.
A few years ago, I started photography with urban exploration, going around dilapidated areas in France. I realised that this place, Chernobyl, was still there somewhere, a forbidden zone with a huge ghost town, inhabitated for 25 years. I heard some people were able to visit and saw some photos but at this point it was an unreachable dream for me. Then I had an opportunity to go visit Ukraine with my girlfriend and she managed to organize the visit for us.
It’s a very strange feeling, like walking in a poisoned paradise. The vegetation is very dense and the whole place would feel very peaceful if it wasn’t for this permanent tension. When you enter the area, after the control, it’s just some quiet countryside roads, nothing special. Until you make your first stop in an abandoned kindergarden, lost in the forest.
Everyone left in a rush, leaving everything behind, and there are still beds and sheets, toys lying around, children books and so on. It’s like human beings vanished in a second. Then you walk in Pripyat, and it’s beautiful and scary. You visit buildings, the hospital, the prison etc. In one school, a stock of gasmasks for kids has been spread around and some visitors had fun with toys, hence the masked doll vision.
Every biologist who flew over a city probably thought that it looks like a bacterial colony growing on nutritive jelly. The colonies grow until they touch each other and until there are no resources left. Then the mass extinction starts. Our children won’t see it, nor their children, but it will happen eventually. Then maybe the vegetation will grow back and the whole world will look like Chernobyl.
There is definitely a growing awareness about the dead end we’re getting ourselves in, but I don’t think humanity as a whole will change, we will follow our specy instincts, growing and multiplying without control.
Ventre is the name I gave to my creative project, including texts and images. It’s very imprinted by religious and mystical themes. My texts are small, cryptic tales from an ancient world and my images are portraits of saints and martyrs.
I appreciate to be able to receive and give inspiration, discover new things and share my work with a lot of people. But if I consider the results, I don’t think I grew so much as a creative person thanks to internet. I was just as creative as a child, when I had a few books with me, as I am now, with multiple cultural resources.
Read the interview on Dionisopunk.com