Blog posts


pictures before an exhibition

Liquidator Mikhail Shumak's family at his grave in Sukachi, Ukraine, near Chernobyl.
I spent the weekend finishing a grant proposal. Never a favorite activity, but I am excited about this one. We requested $2,500 from the Madison Arts Commission to mount an exhibit of my Chernobyl photos this coming summer. I'm working with the non-profit FOCCUS. Even if we don't get funding, some version of the exhibit will be on display June through August at two sites in Madison.

Here are two of the photos I included with the application. I don't think either of them have seen the light of day (or the flicker of the web) before.

An abandoned bus rusts away in the forest near Lyutezh, Ukraine, south of Chernobyl.
Some more details about the first photo:
The village cemetery in Sukachi, 20 kilometers south of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, is full of liquidators who served in the clean-up efforts after the Chernobyl accident. On Victory Day (May 9, 2007), Nadiya Ivanivna Shumak and her family visit the grave of her husband Mikhail Fedorovich Shumak, who died in October 2006 at the age of 61 with heart problems possibly caused by radiation. Since he lived nearby, Mikhail volunteered as a liquidator, cleaning contaminated vehicles in 1986 and doing construction and repair of canals in 1989. “However, he was without papers,” says Nadiya. “They didn’t document him on a komandarovka, didn’t write down his name,” so that later, he did not qualify for a pension or benefits. “Chernobyl was a dangerous time” says Mikhail’s cousin Ivan Mertel of Ivankiv, at left. “There was one with a respirator and ten without. Now no one knows what is clean and what is dirty.” Also pictured: Shumak’s daughter Tanya, grand-daughter Yana, age 3. Sukachi village is just north of Ivankiv and has population of 1,200.

/* Google Analytics code: ----------------------------------------------- */