Michael Forster Rothbart spent two years living among Chernobyl survivors in Ukraine, photographing daily life.
“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,” he writes. “I wanted to understand how people are really living here, a generation after the accident.”
He followed 12 families for a year and conducted over 100 interviews of evacuees, veterans and people still working at the Chernobyl plant.
See more images on his interactive website.
Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are over 800 unmarked dumpsites for radioactive equipment. Outside the Zone are 2,293 villages in Ukraine where land was contaminated but where people still live.
Retired Chernobyl plant engineer Viktor Gaidak shows his scar after surgery for colon cancer.
Over 3,800 employees still work at the Chernobyl plant. They check their hands and feet for radioactive contamination before leaving the facility.
Dials in Chernobyl Control Room One once marked the depth of each fuel rod in the reactor core.
In winter, Chernobyl workers return home after dark, riding trains through the Exclusion Zone to the new city of Slavutych.