Blog posts


installing my exhibit

This morning we set up my Inside Chernobyl exhibit in Shevchenko Park, in downtown Kyiv. You can see installation photos on Linda Norris's uncatalogued museum blog. Then I had a brief lull to be nervous before our very nice opening ceremony.

I am a very grateful to everyone who made this exhibit possible. I was honored to have such a group of distinguished speakers at the event.

The best part of today, for me, was seeing audience reactions. It's been a laborious 4 months to bring this exhibit from conception to completion. Today it felt worthwhile, as I watched so many passersby stop and really examine the exhibit.

After a brief pause to relax, I will post photos of the exhibit and more details.


Arriving at Chernobyl

Every weekday morning, about 3,800 Chernobyl plant workers arrive at the plant via the Semikhody train station. One former worker called the train platform "the daily fashion show." Immediately afterwards, employees enter giant locker rooms and change into their work clothes.

I love the matching red-dyed hair of these women.

In every exhibit, some favorite photos get cut. I am posting a few this week and explaining why you won't see them in the exhibit.

One section of the exhibit shows an overview of a typical day at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This photo got cut to make room for a more essential photo at the train station, showing workers passing through the final radiation checkpoint of the day.


Inside Chernobyl

Inside Chernobyl: life goes on

My photo exhibit opens in 2 weeks. Last week, I delivered all material to the designer to lay it out. Now I can take a deep breath before I dive back into preparations.

Inevitably, in every exhibit, some favorite photos get cut because they don't support the story of the overall exhibit or are redundant with other photos.

This week I will post a few of my favorite images that did not make it into the show.

Lira Barbash is sixteen months old and entranced by feeding pigeons. She throws sunflower seeds to the birds while her mom shops in the Moscovskiy Kvartal open-air bazaar in Slavutych.

This is a lovely image, but it does not tell enough of the story of Slavutych, the city that is home to the Chernobyl plant workers. So the photo had to go, alas.


Inside Chernobyl downloads

Inside Chernobyl: life goes on
Чорнобиль зсередини: життя продовжується

Photography exhibit in Shevchenko Park, Kyiv
April 24 - May 8, 2009

The photographs here are available free for media use, for articles related to the Inside Chernobyl exhibit. For any other commercial or editorial uses, contact Michael Forster Rothbart at

All published photographs should be accompanied by a credit:
Photo by Michael Forster Rothbart.

Click on any photo to get a larger version.

Caption: In Chernobyl's liquid radioactive waste treatment facility, wastewater will be purified and the remaining radioactive sediment will be safely stored in barrels. Serhiy Bokov and his colleagues are readying this new facility for operation.
Підпис: На заводі, де переробляються рідкі радіоактивні відходи, стічні води очищаються, а радіоактивний осад буде надійно зберігатись у цистернах. Сергій Боков і його колеги готують цей новий завод до експлуатації.

Caption: Morning rush hour in the H.I.R.C. department: workers undergo internal radiation control before starting their shift on the New Safe Confinement construction site near the 4th Block “Shelter Object.”
Підпис: Ранкова година пік у відділі ЦРБ: працівники проходять внутрішній радіаційний контроль перед тим, як заступити на роботу на промисловій площадці об’єкта «Укриття»

Caption: At the Chernobyl plant, more than 3,800 employees still come to work every day. Here, workers check their hands and feet for radioactive contamination one last time at the end of the day, before boarding the train home.
Підпис: На Чорнобильську атомну станцію щодня приходить на роботу більше 3800 працівників. Остання перевірка рук і ніг на радіоактивне забруднення наприкінці робочого дня, перед посадкою на електричку.

Caption: Morning with the Evteev family. Tanya Evteeva checks her work schedule while her family finishes breakfast.
Підпис: Ранок в домі Євтєєвих. Таня перевіряє розклад роботи, поки сім'я закінчує снідати.

Caption: In Slavutych, Lira Barbash is sixteen months old and entranced by feeding pigeons.
Підпис: В місті Славутич, Лірі Барбаш шістнадцять місяців і вона із захопленням годує голубів.

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