Ed Thompson, The Red Forest. 2012. On April 26th 1986 there was an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four spewed out huge amounts of radiation contaminating soil, water and atmosphere with the radiation

 

A new show The Unseen: The Red Forest opens at the end of the month at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham Kent and runs until 1 March 2015. Ed Thompson photographic work has focused on various subjects over the years from covering environmental issues, socio-political movements and the consequences of war. In The Unseen he sets out to explore the boundaries of visual perception and beyond.

 

On April 26th 1986 there was an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four spewed out huge amounts of radiation contaminating soil, water and atmosphere with the radiation equivalent to 200 times that of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The wind blew much of the immediate radioactive fallout onto Wormwood Forest that was within 10km surrounding the power station. The pine trees of Wormwood took on massive quantities of radiation (as much as 8000 roentgens an hour) and died. But there was a side effect to the contamination, the trees turned bright red. Wormwood Forest no longer exists; it’s now called The Red Forest.

 

In The Red Forest (2012); Thompson assesses the condition of the most radioactive forest in the world. Colour infrared film originally had many varied applications, one of which was its use in the documentation and study of forests. Like other parts of The Unseen Thompson has tried to push the limits of the film’s intended purpose. The film itself also seemed to be effected by the radiation; tiny black specks cover the films emulsion. This only occurred when the film was used in Chernobyl and does not seem to have happened when the film was used in other parts of the series.

 

Opening times
Tuesday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm (last entry 4.00pm)
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays: 11.30am-5.00pm (last entry 4.00pm)