“Igrushka means ‘toy’ in Russian. It retells the Chernobyl accident through the portraits of forsaken toys from a very particular nursery in the abandoned city of Pripyat. These toys illustrate a way of playing that changed after the accident and fall of the USSR. They are also a conduit to memories about Chernobyl. The images are paired with stories and fables found on open pages in the nursery, as well as with excerpts from interviews with persons who were children at the time. The project is ongoing, and will culminate in a book later this year.
“I consider this my most intimate work to date.”
To read the stories that accompany each photo, check out the online slideshow. Also, if you’d like to see an intimate photographic tour of Pripyat 25 years after the meltdown at the Chernobyl, visit Smith’s blog.