Meet Lida and Mikhail Masanovitz, a couple living in the desolate ghost town of Redkovka, Ukraine. The town is located 35 km away from the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986, causing the worst nuclear catastrophe ever known. Lida and Mikhail are some of the few residents of the town, a place classified as ‘zone two’, meaning a place too dangerous for anyone to be living there.
Many towns and villages have been evacuated after the Chernobyl reactor exploded. But the residents of Redkovka refused to leave.
Lida used to be a nurse. She is now 74 and she lives out of a tiny pension. She and Mikhail married more than 50 years ago. He used to be the head of the local post office. I love how Diana Markosian, the young and talented photographer who took these pictures, manages to capture the loneliness of Lida and Mikhail’s slow paced life. They and everyone else there live off the land, and for a place declared too dangerous for anybody to be in, it’s almost painful to imagine what living off the land means.
The simplicity of their home, their frugal food, the way they sleep under the kind of typical Eastern European eiderdown that my grandparents used to have as well (covered in a sheet with a square cut in the middle, through which the eiderdown can be fit in), and the multitude of other details captured in these photos, all tell a story that’s grim and sensitive at the same time. They now live an invisible life, but through this tender photos it becomes an acknowledged life and not invisible anymore.