Photographer Edwin van Laar: Urban Exploring at Chernobyl

“I’m an urban explorer and I’m always looking for the most surprising places in the world to photograph, such as abandoned buildings,” says photographer Edwin van Laar. “To shoot the perfect picture, I can be a real daredevil, climbing and jumping up and over everything. At such moments something is more likely to fall down…”

Edwin recently had the unique opportunity to visit one of the most desolate places in the world. He traveled to Chernobyl, Ukraine, where in 1986 a major nuclear disaster destroyed a large area. Today, the entire area within a 30 km radius of the destroyed nuclear power plant is still largely off-limits to visitors. Access is only allowed under strict guidance.

Edwin managed to come within a distance of 300 meters from the nuclear power plant. For only ten minutes. Staying longer is impossible because of the radiation risk.

Of course LaCie fans know our products are tough. But the proof’s always in the pudding. Especially in challenging circumstances.

And Edwin’s LaCie Rugged Mini did undergo some pretty unusual circumstances. “Yes, he is fully resistant to radiation,” Edwin joked.

He used the external hard drive as a backup on the go. “Memory Cards can be quite vulnerable. It would be a disaster for me to see all my hard work — because that’s what shooting is — get lost because of a card failure. Therefore I copy my work regularly to an external hard drive. And that needs to be a tough drive.”

Edwin said he didn’t exactly treat his Rugged Mini gently during his trip. “The drive was in my backpack, which I often throw on the ground when taking a picture,” he explained. “Sometimes the drive slipped from my hands and landed hard on the ground. But it didn’t get damaged at all. The big advantage for me is that the drive is almost indestructible and functions perfectly as back-up.”

“So I didn’t have to worry whether I’d get home safely with my pictures. Because if you can visit such a unique location, this is probably what matters most.”

We’d like to extend a big thank you to Edwin for sharing this story and his video and images with us. And we don’t mind him putting the LaCie Rugged Mini to the test — even if it’s a particularly unusual one. Be sure to check out Edwin’s work at

Photographer Edwin van Laar Urban Exploring at Chernobyl - shooting