Arkadiusz Podniesiński (b. 1972) is a Polish photographer and filmmaker, a technical diver and a graduate of Oxford Brookes University in Great Britain. Since 2008, he has been continuously engaged in the photographic documentation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which he has visited dozens of times. His main pursuit is photographing places associated with disasters, conducting interviews with workers and the residents of the evacuated areas, as well as documenting the progress of the nuclear power plant’s liquidation and the building of the new sarcophagus.
In March 2011, at the time of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the photographer simultaneously began working on documenting the closed zone in Japan. He visited it several times each year, photographing the abandoned and radioactive towns affected by the plant’s failure and speaking with the evacuated residents.
Arkadiusz Podniesiński has been involved in many other projects. Between 2005-2010, he uncovered the stories of ships sunk during the Second World War. The result of this work and a series of intensive and deep technical dives were his two documentary films Baltic Wrecks [Wraki Bałtyku] and Technical Diving [Nurkowania techniczne]. In 2010, he travelled alone around Africa for the photographic project “Lost Souls – the hidden world of animism”. This six-month study trip resulted in photographic portraits of African tribes that can still be seen in museums and galleries in many countries. Between 2011-2016, he returned to Africa many times to continue his project.
He is the author of numerous articles and photographs in the print and online media (including Nature, Der Spiegel, FOCUS Historia, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Stern, CKM, Voyage, Days Japan, Greenpeace Magazine) as well as the protagonist and author of documentary films and reports (for TVN, TVN24, PLANETE, ARD, TBS, RT).
His involvement in matters concerning Chernobyl and Fukushima has also resulted in the making of two documentary films entitled Alone in the Zone (2011, 2013) and participating in the international campaign “Vote Our Planet”. In 2016, the photographer also created a non-profit organisation, Pro Futurum. Its goal is to co-operate and disseminate experiences and information about both disasters between institutions, researchers and residents of both countries.
arek (at) podniesinski (dot) pl