All posts tagged: Nadav Kander Dust

Nadav Kander on Secret Nuclear Missile-testing Sites

“The Geiger counters chattered away on our belts, keeping us from the worst of the invisible dangers,” writes Nadav Kander in his new monograph, Dust. Kander is describing his three-year study of secret Soviet towns, once home to nuclear missile-testing sites, now radioactive landscapes. As Kander explains in the accompanying text to the book (published by Hatje Cantz, priced at £60), it was while researching cities in Russia for a project that he came across the two so-called ‘closed’ towns located on the Russian- Kazakhstan border. Kurchatov, in north-east Kazakhstan, was home to The Polygon, a key nuclear testing site in the Soviet Union until 1989, and the closed missile testing town of Priozersk, formerly known as Moscow 10, which never appeared on official maps. As a result, both were largely unknown until the advent of Google Earth. “I was told these towns were mostly destroyed,” writes Kander. “As with many secrets in life, this inspired my wish to know more.” So began a journey that saw the London-based photographer travel from east Kazakhstan to …


Nadav Kander’s Dust: “Empty landscapes of invisible dangers”

Priozersk (formally known as ‘Moscow 10’) and Kurchatov are closed cities, restricted military zones, concealed and not shown on maps until they were ‘discovered’ by Google Earth. Enlisted to the pursuits of science and war, the sites were utilized for the covert testing of atomic and long distance weapons. Falsely claimed as uninhabited, the cities, along with nearby testing site ‘The Polygon’, set the stage for one of the most cynical experiments ever undertaken. Scientists watched and silently documented the horrifying effects of radiation and pollution on the local population and livestock. Demolished to preserve their military secrets, the areas now consist predominantly of the ruinous architecture and desolate landscapes featured in Kander’s haunting photographs. A result of the Cold War and of the relentless quest for nuclear armaments, the ruins stand as accidental monuments to the melancholic, dark and destructive side of human nature. Kander’s photographs, as such, portray such settings as stake facts. Yet they have, in their shape and locale, a distinct poeticism, as if secrets exist in the silence of the …


BJP Staff