Emerald Childrens Camp - Pripyat

Just outside of the village of Kopachi there is a track into the woods. At first it seem like a gentle stroll but then the remains of wooden huts appear. All are decorated with Russian cartoon characters. Fading in the extremes of weather and the thirty years of neglect.

This summer camp for the children of Pripyat had 100 cabins dotted around the woodland with a cinema and canteen. The children from the city would come and stay in the summer months to explore the outdoors and play in the small river that runs along the edge of the camp mirroring the cooling lake from the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station.

In 1986, after the disaster it was abandoned, although liquidators made use of the huts during their time in the area. Today the huts are fading fast, but you can imagine excited children away from their parents for a summer of adventures as you wander the abandoned site.

Photography Notes

The Emerald Camp is just a short walk through the woodland from the main road leaving the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The woods are home to wildlife including lynx and deer, which can be seen if you are quiet and are the first to visit during the day.

The huts are scattered within the woodland. Trees surround the area and and finding clear lines through the trees can be quite difficult. Leaving the path is not allowed so alternative perspectives and wide angle shots make the best of the area.

Some of the huts are on the path and these can be explored more easily. These have weathered painted wood which is textured and merges with rusting metal giving some beautiful intimate images. There are a few belongings within the huts, left by the liquidators which add to the atmosphere.

The camp is quite difficult to photograph but the fun that children had in the location can still be felt today despite the trauma of the past.