Andrei Balta throws his fifteen-month-old son Vanya in the air during a summer evening in Slavutych, Ukraine. Every evening, parents with babies and toddlers gather in the central square of Slavutych to socialize. Andrei and his wife Anna both work at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, as do over 3,800 other residents of Slavutych.During an intense week photographing inside the Chernobyl power plant, it was a pleasure to relax in the evening by photographing some parents playing with their kids. Andrei and Vanya were very impressive, with little Vanya doing flips and aerial somersaults.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Thursday, July 30, 2009
Living room in an abandoned apartment in Pripyat, 2 km from Chernobyl. Click on photo for larger version.The last time I was in Pripyat, the city next to Chernobyl, I tried an experiment. I've been looking for a way to photograph abandoned apartments. They have very small rooms and are often fairly empty. This living room had more in it than most do.
Does this four-tych approach work? I am still undecided. In this project I've shot a number of 360 degree panoramas, but it didn't seem like that would work well here. Instead, I put my wide-angle lens at 17mm and stood back to each wall and shot the whole room.
This week I am going back to photograph the former apartments of people I've interviewed and photographed. Should be interesting.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Saturday, July 18, 2009
Petro Konovalenko, head of the village council for Sukachi, Ukraine, helps neighbors load hay into their barn. Nearly half the population of Sukachi was relocated here from the village of Ladizhichi after the Chernobyl accident.
Man was I ever dirty after this shoot.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Thursday, July 09, 2009
Leonid Budkovskiy and a friend celebrate a successful hunting trip near Chernobyl, sometime in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy Budkovskiy family.)
No, this is not my photo.
As part of my Inside Chernobyl documentary project, I have started going through old photo albums and drawers of old photos with the 15 main families I've been following. We're picking some favorite photos and I am getting them scanned.
I can get a lot more depth of family history by integrating my new pictures with old family shots. I still need to figure out how it will all fit together, but in the meantime it is fun hearing family stories triggered by old snapshots.
I especially liked this hunting photo because Leonid's legs stopped working after his five years at Chernobyl. He has been in a wheelchair since 1996. See my more recent portraits of Leonid here.
Posted by Michael Forster Rothbart on Monday, July 06, 2009