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Inside the Fukushima exclusion zone

"You can't see it. It's not tangible. It's a fear of the unknown."

Patrik Lundin is telling me what it feels like to be surrounded by an invisible danger: high levels of radiation. Lundin's photography project, 36 Views of The Fukushima Dai-ichi Exclusion Zone, explores the effects of the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear plant following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. The work pays homage to Hokusai and is inspired by a series of woodcuttings, 36 Views of Mount Fuji, that the Japanese artist produced between 1826 and 1833.

Patrik Lundin

View 29 - 0.4 microsievert / hour

Patrik Lundin

View 5 - 0.1 microsievert / hour.

The project is a 180-degree dissection of the radiated land areas surrounding the plant. Each view has been taken in five-degree increments, looking towards the failed reactor. In Hokusai's woodcuttings every view contained Mount Fuji. In Lundin's work, the common factor is that each image contains levels of unseen radiation.

Lundin travelled to Japan in July, four months after the earthquake, and felt that his photographs had to go beyond the images of destruction that dominate the visual record of the disaster. "People have seen those images. They don't react to them anymore," he told msnbc.com. "What I am interested in is the aftermath of events, rather than the immediate."

 

Patrik Lundin

View 34 - 0.3 microsievert / hour

Patrik Lundin

View 23 - 6.6 microsievert / hour

Lundin, who is studying for a Masters in Photojournalism at the University of Westminster, spent seven days inside the exclusion zone, exposing himself to a total of 60μSv (microsieverts) of radioactive material. Although he was working in the 30km zone around the plant, where evacuation is voluntary (mandatory exclusion applies within 20km of the plant), he was stopped seven times by police who wanted to know what he was doing there.

"At times I felt a completely irrational fear over what I was doing to myself. In a lot of the zone the landscape is exactly the same as before - in most of the pictures you don't see the effects of the earthquake or the tsunami - but there are just no people. It's an eerie feeling."

 

Patrik Lundin

View 22 - 2.2 microsievert / hour

Lundin's work is on show in the exhibition Habeas Corpus: Bodies in the Frame, which runs at Ambika P3 in London from September 2-4.

Click here for Patrik Lundin's website.