A Look Inside the ‘Closed Cities,' the Radioactive Ruins on Russia's Border With Kazakhstan

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Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Priozersk and Kurchatov, located on the border between Russia and Kazakhstan, are “closed cities”—relics of the Cold War, former military test sites.

 

09_26_Kander_08 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the so-called closed cities have gradually opened to outsiders. Nadav Kander, an award-winning photographer, travelled to the steppes of Kazakhstan to document the desolate, lonely ruins. The images he captured will be available in his forthcoming book, Dust.

09_26_Kander_01 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Kander’s photographs capture what he calls “the aesthetics of destruction.” Demolished to hide their secrets, both cities became “accidental monuments to the melancholic, dark and destructive side of human nature,” writes best-selling British author Will Self in the introduction to Dust.

09_26_Kander_10 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Kandar’s photographs will be on display at the Flowers Gallery in London until October 11. Dust, published by Hatje Cantz, is available for preorder. An app which allows users to view some of the photographs is also available for download via iTunes.

09_26_Kander_12 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_09 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_07 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_06 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_04 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_03 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery 09_26_Kander_02 Nadav Kander. Courtesy Flowers Gallery