Exposure is a term that commonly refers to perceptibility and vulnerability. Through his use of black and white film, Kazuma Obara (b. 1985, Japan) makes a double entendre of the word that challenges our perception of this terminology as he portrays the life of a girl named Mariia who was affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The series of images represents the last 30 years of Mariia who was born in Kiev, located 100km south of Chernobyl. Since Mariia’s scars and disability are invisible, Obara projects the hardship of the disease she carries, Chronic thyroiditis, by expressing the radiation exposure through his method of film exposure and processing. He uses old Ukrainian colour negative films, exposing each film 1 to 4 minutes and processing it with black and white solution. This type of processing conjures the abstractness of the images, whereby the viewer is left to wonder how we view the invisibility of such troubles that people live with every day.
As we progress through the series, we imagine the problems of exposure to the Chernobyl disaster. Obara’s images create an eerie picture, which is at times confusing. We are asked to consider the present moment in the context of how it has been formed by previous experiences and exposure to the world around us.