Haunting Photographs of the Siberian City of Norilsk Contrast Colorful Architecture with Devastating Industrial Pollution

Haunting Photographs of the Siberian City of Norilsk Contrast Colorful Architecture with Devastating Industrial Pollution

Russian photographer Slava Stepanov, who publishes his photography under the moniker “Gelio”, specializes in intriguing aerial photographs of massive Eastern European industrial cities. Gelio’s images of Siberia’s Norilsk, the world’s northernmost large city, reveal the dichotomy of devastating pollution and stunningly cold climate and colorful, neatly organized industrial architecture. These images reveal the devastation caused by acid rain and dense smog as the city’s oddly colorful buildings contrast sharply with the dark concrete and polluted snow surrounding them.

Officially founded in the mid-1930’s, Norilsk was home to the headquarters of Norillag, a gulag labor camp whose prisoners were forced to work in the massive metallurgic mines located in Norilsk. In the late 1970s the labor camp was closed but the mines remained open; employing the remaining residents of the city. In addition to crippling pollution from the mining process, the city’s climate is extremely harsh. Snow covers the ground for over 250 days each year, and the region experiences a yearly six-week “polar night” during which there is no sunlight.

All images used with permission.

You can find more of Gelio’s work on his website.

Via [io9]

Ruby Love's picture

Ruby Love is a photographer and writer based in Olympia, WA. Love's work focuses on the link between photography and storytelling, and the potential of images to be tools for activism.

Log in or register to post comments

Great post. You know, i have this DJI Phantom drone and I can't say I've ever taken a still photo with it yet. I wonder how well a GoPro captures still images...I'll have to try it out.

I have messed around with it a little and did a little reading on the internet (so you might want to look into it a little more) but if you are using the hero + Black I heard the stills are roughly of the same quality of just pulling stills from the 4k 15fps mode. Ive been using stills mode the little bit ive messed with it (just got the DJI) but its the silver model.

Ha, I'm still using a Hero2...I'm waiting for a 4k model. I usually only use the Phantom to scare the birds out of my trees, but I may have to put it to work.

Remarkable perspectives. Wish i could do this in my city.

Killer shots. Makes me want to rent a chopper

Great post! The colorful yet stark buildings remind me of the kind of toy pieces that kids assemble into various shapes and grids, or individually, of pawns used in a board game. Each one is very uniform, and not unlike the shipping containers. For such uninspired building design, it's hard to imagine the use of playful colors. Imagine if they didn't.

I wonder what altitude and focal length were used to get shots like the first one? Does anyone do this type of photography that might know technical information about these shots? These are freaking amazing!