NPR logo A Closer Look At Chernobyl, 24 Years Later

Daily Picture Show

A Closer Look At Chernobyl, 24 Years Later

Monday marks the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant melted down, spreading radioactive material across a wide swath of the former Soviet Union and Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine were displaced in the aftermath. But millions have remained in the contaminated areas and suffered the consequences.

We've seen countless photos of illness, deformity and desolation. But for the past two years, funded by a Fulbright fellowship, photographer Michael Forster Rothbart has been digging deeper. An exhibition of his work opens today at the Ukranian embassy in Washington, D.C. He writes in a statement:

My commitment to this project began when I discovered how often photojournalists distort Chernobyl. They visit briefly, expecting danger and despair, and come away with photos of deformed children and abandoned buildings. This sensationalist approach obscures the more complex stories about how a displaced community adapts and survives.

You can see more on Forster Rothbart's project website.