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Book chronicles Nadav Kander's fascination with secret Soviet scientific cities
Priozersk II, (Tulip in Bloom), Kazakhstan 2011.
NEW YORK, NY.- Nadav Kander began a three year survey of secret Soviet scientific cities and missile test sites when he learned of the existence of two “closed” cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia that tickled his curiosity for secrecy and his interest in the aesthetics of destruction. This fascination then took him from East Kazakhstan to the desolated landscapes of the Aral Sea.

The restricted military zones of Priozersk and Kurtchatov did not appear on any map until well after the end of the Cold War. Long-distance missiles were tested in Priozersk, only known at the time as “Moscow 10”, under great secrecy. Hundreds of atomic bombs were detonated in the so-called “Polygon” near Kurchatov until the program ended in 1989. The bombs were exploded in a remote but still populated area, and covert studies were made of the effects of the radiation on the unsuspecting inhabitants.

He was then drawn to the bleak Aral Sea where there had been a military presence in the area, which had been responsible for launching the missiles used in the development of the defence systems in Moscow 10.

Through this new series of fascinating pictures, Kander continues his exploration of the darker side of our nature, of mankind. He writes how the ticking of the Geiger counter on his belt while he photographed reminded him that he should not become too enthralled with the aesthetic and painterly allure of the crumbling ruins.

As Will Self writes about Kander’s pictures in his introduction to the book, “these images do not make beautiful what is not, they ask of us that we repurpose ourselves to accept a new order of both the beautiful and the real.”

Born in 1961 and based in London, Nadav Kander is a recipient of the renowned Prix Pictet and one of today’s most successful photographers.

In 2009 Kander was awarded the Prix Pictet and was also named International Photographer of the Year at the 7th Annual Lucie Awards. His work appears regularly in many international publications such as The New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine. Nadav's work is housed in several public collections including National Portrait Gallery, London, the V&A Museum and the Frank Suss Collection. He has exhibited internationally at venues including Musée de L’Elysee, Lausanne, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, Kennedy’s Museum, Berlin, The Photographers’ Gallery and Somerset House, London, Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Herzilya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel. Monographs include Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man (2013) and Yangtze, The Long River (2010). Forthcoming: Dust (2014).

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