A photo essay that captures the future created by a meltdown

chernleg.jpg Click the image to see photo essay. (Quicktime file; 16MB)  Credit: Pictures and Narration by Paul Fusco; Directed by Andy Patrick

“Chernobyl Legacy” is a disturbing but necessary portrayal of the innocent victims of that cataclysmic event.

In 1999, Magnum photographer Paul Fusco traveled to Belarus for the first time. He would return twice, spending several months at hospitals and orphanages on each occasion. Some of his images may be upsetting; the children he photographed are badly disfigured. Fusco portrays them with the dignity and care they deserve.

“I traveled a lot and every day I felt that life for all these innocent people was increasingly insufferable and no one knows, no one knows,” Fusco said in a recent interview with Catalyst magazine. “How could we ever let this happen? Everyone must see them.”

“Chernobyl Legacy,” directed by Andy Patrick, has been screened at film festivals across the country, including the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride (where it won the prestigious Jury Award), the DC Environmental Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Photos used in the film have appeared in gallery shows and have been collected in Fusco’s recently published book.

Paul Fusco started his career as a photojournalist during the Korean War, later becoming a staff photographer at LOOK magazine. Much of his work focuses on people living in difficult circumstances, from runaway teens in New York to AIDS patients in California.

Originally published April 25, 2006


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