This image was taken on a 2010 fieldwork stay in Chernobyl, in Pripyat Middle School No.3.
Upon entering the room I did not know what I was in for. As I walked across what I thought was a mass of fallen leaves which had blown in through the open windows, I noted that they didn't crunch underfoot. Upon looking more closely, I realised I was walking across gas masks. Hundreds of them.
Soviet schools always kept a supply of gas masks on hand, in case of a nuclear conflict between the USSR and a foreign power. When the Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986, these masks were called into service to protect the school-children as they were evacuated from the city.
Most were not aware that they had already been exposed to the radiation from the plant for three days.
Coming across this scatter of gas masks was a moment I will never forget. It is a truly historic place, documenting a single moment in time in April, 1986, when the world changed forever.
The globe was found, in situ, amongst the gas masks. It was and is pictured how I found it - with Australia facing up.
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