What Would the World Look Like Without People? | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Naissaar island, Estonia, former Soviet naval mine factory (Oleg Mastruko)
City of the Dead, Cairo, Egypt (Oleg Mastruko)
Ghost town, Nevada, USA (Oleg Mastruko)
Yanov Station, Pripyat, Chernobyl zone of exclusion (Oleg Mastruko)
Child-sized gas masks in elementary school, Pripyat, Chernobyl zone of exclusion (Oleg Mastruko)
Spring in full swing in one of the depopulated villages in the Chernobyl zone of exclusion (Oleg Mastruko)
Detail from the abandoned silver mine, Nevada, USA (Oleg Mastruko)
Former NSA listening post, Teufelsberg, Germany (Oleg Mastruko)

What Would the World Look Like Without People?

Photojournalist Oleg Mastruko spent eight years photographing abandoned locations for his project "Without People"

smithsonian.com

For eight years, photojournalist and magazine editor Oleg Mastruko traveled to 47 countries, snapping photographs along the way. Some of the places he visited—abandoned airforce bases, Cairo's City of the Dead, old military factories, a Nevada ghost town—were markedly void of people, "a vision of failed civilization," as Mastruko describes it.

Mastruko's photos tell a story both eerie and calm, of places once populated now returned to nature. He's visited places like the Chernobyl zone, void of people soon after the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Of all the places he visited, Mastruko ranks this exclusion zone among his favorites.

"The photographs are used to relive the impression – the kind you can't get from just reading about the place," Mastruko says. "On a creepiness scale it's hard to go above deserted school in Pripyat, with the floor completely covered with child sized gas masks. Some places, though, were very calm...Empty villages in the Chernobyl zone, with lush greenery all around are just beautiful, however once you remember why they are deserted, you do get a slightly creepy feeling."

Mastruko hopes to compile the photographs together in a book, which would feature between 40 and 45 examples of "dehumanized" places.

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