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Paul Fusco

Over twenty years have passed since the meltdown at Chernobyl. Paul Fusco faces the dark legacy of the modern technological nightmare that continues to plague those exposed to its destructive radiation.

I've knoW this for about a year. Statistics Was all that I every found on T.V, in school, history... not this. This turned my mind set completely. We all think We knoW about these disasters, but the reality only hits us When We see and hear it on a humanitarian level. What irritates me are emotional people (EMO's) Who are so stuck in there oWn World of their so-called 'hard, depressing life's' that they are so oblivious to true suffering. To those people Who think eugenics is un-ethical, I say this is un-ethical. No human... NO HUMAN should ever be put in such a situation.
I live 25 miles from a place called Faslane, google it.
The horrors of Chernobyl should have shocked the world into united action in the enmfoprcment of the nuclear policies already in place. Instead, it has become an obscurity, only remebered through the video games and occasional spot on the History channel. To spread the word of this disaster, I will be emailing this documentary to all of my contacts throughout the world, and I suggest everyone else does as well. Shallom Heinirch Kaplan
My son was born in the UK just days after the Chernobyl Disaster. I remember my mother-in-law telling me not to take the baby outside in the pushchair because of the cloud of radiation that spread across Europe. It's soon to be his 21st Birthday and graduating from University. His whole life ahead of him. The photographs and commentary in the thumbnails are devastating. Of course I've watched all the documentaries, but I have never seen anything like the deformed children and teenagers shown here. The result of a tragedy that should never have happened. God help their families.
I have seen many documents about Chernobyl, about Prypjat and about the disaster...but I think this site is showing the most impressive picture of the disaster and consequences. I was born in 1986, in Slovakia, maybe far enough from Chernobyl. And when I saw all the kids...I was crying. I always hope that people would learn from own mistakes. Its the only way to preserve mankind.
Powerful, moving, and shocking. The world needs to see these pictures, and hear the victim's stories. The degradation of human life from this disaster is and should be unacceptable to humans everywhere. These children deserve life just as much as any other. If there is any hope, may it be with them. Thankyou for this eye-opening exploration of the inhumanity we create from damnable "technology." There were things humans were not meant to toy with.
Thank you a lot for your essay... There are neither words to describe what one can feel while watching this, nor heart to bear what these children and people are living... I live in a 50 nuclear reactors country... I just wonder if children I know here will ever be living such a hell... Are all these lifes worth less than the few power production this reactor brought ? Sometimes I just want to jump out of what I wish was only a bad dream.
I learned about lynching in English through a powerpoint presentation that my teacher put together that resembled this one. One lady had a son who became a victim of a lynching because he had allegedly whistled at a white woman in the street. Men came, brought him to the woods, and beat his face to the point that it couldn't be recognized as human. The mother demanded that his grave be open-casket so that people could see the effects of race hate. In an interview, she said that what happened to her son was the personification of race hate. This photo-essay is like the open casket for the disaster of Chernobyl, and the effects are the personification of malevolent human curiosity.
In my chemistry class we are studying Nuclear Chemistry. My teacher told me to the visit this website, and that I need to see, because I need to know that there is more to life than the small town I live in. I knew the world was huge and horrible in some places, but I didn't know the magnitude until now. As I was watching this, it was hard to swallow, because the kids being affected are my age. That's scary, and I wonder why my life is the way it is and why these innocent kids have to suffer, and I don't. All I know is that God has his plan, and that everything happens for a reason. I still wonder why people with a certain amount of power, not just political, fail to live up to the responsibility that they have to protect and serve the public. The saying is true: "Power corrupts those who possess it." The scientists had plenty of opportunities to stop, but they didn't think about the consequences, and now innocent children for generations to come have to bare the burden. I also feel that the children in impoverished, AIDS ridden nations have it easier, not to make light of their situation, than the youth of Chernobyl. A hungry child can be fed. A naked child clothed. A diseased child given treatmen drugs. But what can be done for these children? And their children? Thank you for sharing with us the horrors of man's lapse in good judgement. More people need to now. This should make the news and be a part of the media, not who Anna Nicole Smith's baby's daddy is, or Alec Baldwin's phone conversations. Society really has it's priorities screwed up.
Why do we need power so much, that we're willing to risk the destruction, not of just some human life and some ecosystems, but of the entire world and all life on it? Oh, this doesn't happen often, sure. You put one bullet in gun, spin cylinder and pull the trigger. Death doesn't happen often, no, and it is exciting. Why take such risks? What if Chernobyl is the first sequence of reaction that destroys all human life? And now this talk of nuclear missles, as if tests had not done enough damage. Science is to help mankind, know mankind, but science is mankind, they seek foolishness of mankind and to be seen as god to mankind. If these men had any knowledge they would laugh at political system. If only they study philosophy instead.
Paul Fusco, Your photographs are moving, touching, and life altering. Thank You for this beautiful work and for caring. The world needs to see this.
As someone who has always enjoyed photgraphy, I am a firm believer that one picture can tell a thousand words. I knew very little about Chernobyl before today, and we were required to research it for a radiological class. Your photos were very touching, and your essay very informative. I feel that I should have known more about this all along, and that maybe the people affected by Chernobyl have been swept under the rug, so to speak. It is truly very sad. Thank you for sharing your photos and essay; it is very educational and touching. This has definetly changed me.
How easy is it to get caught up in current news that we forget of those who have been suffering for decades. We forget that this tragedy has affected many people and many generations. They don't care about the war in Iraq or global warming. They care about getting medical care for there childern with cancer. The care about getting the attention of the rest of the world that has forgotten them or has never head for them. How easily do we forget about those how have been suffering for years.
Chernobyl was first shown to me when I was about...12, maybe 13. I am 16 now, and have always been interested in Chernobyl and any other type of Nuclear disaster or just anything Nuclear. I had watched a documentary in Chemistry last year about both Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island, but nothing that was remotely close to what was shown in this. Unlike others, I bought the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. because I knew about Chernobyl. It is a fun game, I give it that, and it shows what might happen if it occurs a second time. It even has the deformations that were shown here, with a certain type of mutant they had in there. It sounds grotesque and sadistic, but it is also the raw truth. I was touched by this, and not much really touches me nowadays. I agree with a previous poster that Emos are irritating. They say they have it so bad off, "Oh, my parents won't buy me my favorite pants!!" "My girlfriend just broke up with me, I'm going to cut myself!" and "Why doesn't anyone understand me?! I will show them with my death." They are so materialistic, and have no idea what really goes on in their world. I suffer with one first hand, as my step-brother is one. I find razor blades lying in his room, and he listens to that bull that is Screamo, or just emo junk. They are always complaining about things that EVERYONE goes through, and normal people just go on with life. I want to copy this documentary and send it to every emo person, just to show them that the world doesn't revolve around them, and the they should take their heads out of their asses and see what kind of bull they pull. Thank you for this, Paul. ~Brian
I watch the news almost every day to just take a small glance of what is happening around the world (from as many different channels I can). I see that most of us, people, spend most of our time with petty things. New trends, cool clothes, new celebrities, new products... But even though this is relative... in the long run those are really unimportant input. Really unimportant compared to the torture that these kids are living... their families... People that live in the same planet like us... And like a friend just told me... its all a matter of chances. It could be us in their place! I really got very moved by this documentary... I never thought that a nightmare like this could exist in reality. And I realised (for one more time) how lucky I am... me, my family, my friends... people I love. I will send this link to as many people as I can... This whole incident has been long forgotten... at least in my country (Greece) which is not that far from Chernobyl. I could be wrong but I don't hear a thing about it. Not anymore at least. I wish that people really cared more... about life. I really don't know why I made this post. I feel like I don't have much to offer except these few words that I am typing now... which are mostly feelings of blackness, sadness, desperation and anger... I feel ashamed of humankind... May the future be better for all of us. Not just the "lucky ones" ...
From this photo essay, take the shock in your reaction and carry it toward taking action, to ensure it is not us who suffer next time at the hands of nuclear power 'mistakes.' Do all you can, write to the politicians, tell everyone you know, send them a link to this work, join a protest group. It is up to us. Hesitate in your action and the next power plants could be approved before you know it, find out all you can and tell those who make the decisions about the potential consequences.
I happened onto your site last year when researching the topic of Chernobyl. I was so moved by the pictures and stories that I have used it in my classroom to teach students about Chernobyl but more importantly about life and death. As has been stated by many bloggers we maximize the materialistic and trivial elements of life while the truly important aspects of diplomacy, nuclear weaponry, AIDS and world hunger march on. I must say watching this was the first time all of my high school students were truly quiet and moved. We discussed their feelings about watching this and possible solutions to future potential problems for 2 days. Bravo for your bravery and those you photographed to tell this story to the world. There are not enough years that could pass that we could not learn a lesson from these events. I hope this stays up and running on the internet for many years.
Felicidades por este gran trabajo Paul.
Well,I was really moved after watching all this photos.I was born 2 years after the Chernobyl disaster.I'm 18 years old,so I don't know how it was after the explosion.I asked my mother,and she said that her friend's child : "had no skin".I think most of ppl would like to forget this tragedy,in school this is treaten like an interesting fact,and world hears about Chernobyl only at next 10 year anniversary. Thank you for your work,it's really touching.
Your piece nearly brought me to tears. The suffering that this accident caused lives on, but amid the horror you see the kindness of those who care for the children and the sick. Thank you for producing this.
It could hapen that my father would had to go to Chernobyl For cleaning.Fortunatly, the doctors found some problem with this heart.This escapted my father and probably me.
Nice pictures of Chernobyl and the victims in Belarus, but I was unhappy that the commentator claimed that nuclear power is unhealthy and should be stopped at all costs. Safety standards since the Chernobyl accident have greatly improved and nuclear plants are no longers being run by negligent Soviet officials. I won't say that another nuclear accident on the scale of Chernobyl is impossible, but indicting a proven cost-effective form of energy because of very improbable losses while ignoring the benefits is not smart decision-making. Today one of the greatest health and environmental hazards is global warming. Measuring the loss of life from indirect contamination from the Chernobyl disaster is a highly variable task. It is probably even more so for global warming because the damage is spread out uniformly around the globe. And the pollutants are growing. It is impossible to measure the victims, both through disease and climate change, that results from it. So to lash out against nuclear power, the only form of power that is both economically viable and doesn't pollute the environment, is in a sense, replacing one demon with another that is far harder to see. It is easy to feel sympathy for the victims of Chernobyl. It is hard to imagine the worldwide damage that global warming can cause. For these reasons, today's lawmakers are rightly making the decision to employ the use of nuclear power. And they are doing it with safety in mind.
When will we ever learn? All this, just to carry out some kind of experiment, even though many warnings were given out during its process?. Look at the state of neighbouring Pripryat - once a lively and energetic town? Look at Belarus, Minsk.............the list goes on......... A message for all the world's leaders. Learn from what we have seen and experienced. Look at the families, the children.....their children for centuries to come. Forget international terrorism, forget economical sanctions, war and excuses to carry out such acts. This is mother nature calling. We have enough intelligence, resources and planet to enable everyone to live and share this earth on which we live. Science can exist with nature if we make the effort to not forget that evlolution has given us this right. We must stop playing God, whatever our religion. The planet is ours only for the time we draw and finish breath from it. The true saints of the after-affects of Chernobyl are the parents, carers, firefighters and all those concerned with the clean-up and evacuation of local towns / cities, who will never forget that time. God rest your souls................
I have been researching Chernobyl for a little while now. I happen to come across your photo essay and I just want to tell you it was very touching. we find many pictures showing the dead town and aftermath of the buildings. but you really went to a personal level. showing the lives a human beings who have been touched by this horrible event. I think your statement here is amazing and hope that many eyes see it as well. my heart goes out to each person that has suffered this tragedy.
We are only human and we make mistakes. Our children will pay for our mistakes like this.
why the hell do we have nucular anythig all that is going to is lead to are dustruction. i mean look we have nucular bombs for what to show that we have them dont mess with us or we might use them. look at these pics. they show alot of kids diying and kids that are suffering for what this stuff dose to them i dont think we sould risk haveing nucular power it might end up just like this i mean u could be the one that has these defects think about that.
I had never heard of chernobly until 2 days ago when I saw a documentory on HBO. This is worse than horrible, it is HORRIFING! The children that are living in these "homes" no proper medical or phycological attention - the WORLD should be outraged! In this documentory I saw no sign that children even lived there other than the fact that the children seemed to constantly be in bed or mats on the floor. There were no toys, no games, no TV's, no radios, no paints, colors ect. - what are these children suppose to do for "life"? There is no life if you are just sitting staring at a wall waiting to die. Because I don't know where or how to start I am hoping that someone will read this and tell me what I can do. Please if someone could get in contact with me and just tell what I can do to help......
Every time I read, watch or listen to something like this (whether on Chernobyl or a similar subject), I feel as if my heart's dropped from my chest. So much pain and suffering ... and in hindsight, most of it is preventable, and that makes it so much worse. I live in Canada, and as of right now, I face none of the horrors seen in so many other parts of the world. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do if I did. Perhaps I am less able to sympathize with those who live these things - and I'm not sure whether I wish to be able to. Can one who has never felt anything like this ever empathize, ever really reach out? Are we not behind a wall, no matter how much we may want to be on the other side? I see these pictures and wish I could hold these children, rock them, care for them, sing to them, love them ... I want to make them feel better; I want to make the pain go away. But how far can I go, without knowing what it is like? I echo the many comments that cry "society has its priorities out of order!" I agree. There are so many things which need not even be mentioned. And yet, if we covered our newspapers and newscasts and radio shows with reports of these horrors day after day ... would we care, after a while? Would we open our hearts to all of this and give all we have, or would we become jaded and unseeing? Would we turn a blind eye, citing "it's too far away - it doesn't affect us"? Would we reach out? How far can we reach? How much can we actually change, and how much do we really want to? As to nuclear energy - apart from its waste, it's clean and relatively safe. The CANDU reactors, used in several countries, have very good safety records ... we are the world's prime producer of uranium ... and yet you look at this and wonder if it's worth it. Not all reactors are the same, but they're all deadly - can we not find an even better way? I think of the radioactive waste we are thinking of storing in the Canadian Shield, and wonder about the children of my future children, and their children. ... But nothing fills the hole, no matter how much we talk, and these children still die. Do they know they die? Do they know they live? Do they know we care? I hope they have some inkling of how much we love them, and how much we're sorry, even 21 years after the fact.
Thank you for your documentary. I have seen it several times and each time it breaks my heart. Thank you for enlightening us to the continued horrors of mankind. We need enlightment and with that we need much prayer and meditation in order to raise the conciousness of mankind. We can either in our arrogance destroy us all or we can raise our level of awareness and we can heal ourselves. Each one of us can make a difference as you have. We have forgotten who we are. We are all God's children and it does not matter what race, religion or creed or even country we individually come from. We are all one and until we learn this most valuable lesson and stop separating ourselves this is what we shall continue to produce. Absolute agony and terror for mankind. I pray that Our mother/ father /God/ Allah/ Jesus/ Yehwah/ Great Whitespirit/ our Creator has mercy on this (us/our) broken Mankind. May God continue to bless you and keep your VOICE Strong, that we may become one VOICE a VOICE of Healing of our most precious Earth and of our most precious selves. May God have mercy on our souls.
We must not look for nuclear solutions to our power problems
First off, I want to thank Paul for actually taking the time to make a wonderful and compelling documentary about this incident. He took his time and risked his life to bring us these amazing images and stories from those who suffer on a daily basis from something we can dismiss just as easily. He brought us the true, real life stories with photos to emphasize their meaning. He didn't do what most media outlets would do and edit these images out because they are "too graphic and people might get offended by them." For once, someone took it upon themselves to bring the truth to light. From the way it was told, it didn't sound like an accident at all. It sounded as if someone was truly careless with their work, wanting nothing more than to further their own agenda, quickly fix a problem and if something minor happened to go wrong, blame it on someone or something else. Sadly, this is what happens when don't think, when people are so selfish about getting the job done, that they lose sight of what can happen. This, like so many other things in life, is just a grim reminder of what we all must do, why we should remember every detail behind events like these, and why we should come together through it all for the better. If we forget things like this happening, we are doomed to repeat it. Personally, if I could ever do anything to help these people, I would. I would fly there, take care of them, help them out, because when I look at these images, I don't see monstrous people walking around. I see plain ordinary people with diseases caused by humanities carelessness. We must never forget though these people may look gruesome on the outside, inside, they are just the same as everyone else.
Paul Fusco's story made a huge impact on me. His work is amazing. This should all make us think about how we use science and technology.
A really, really moving story.
I never knew that Chernobyl brought all those repercussions with it, it's terrible and the people will keep on living this fear forever. Great job you did, really great emotional story. It brought the shiver down my spine seeing all those photos.
i've nathing 2 say..
This is why we need photojournalists - to tell us the stories we can not see any other way or don't want to kow about because they are too painful to even think about. Nothing is worse than ignorance. Excellent work, can't really say more than that...
shocking. shocking shocking... and so sad. I shall help. Thank you.
I ditto "Nothing is worst than ignorance". And this is the result of ignorance. It's devastating.
I feel very empty and sad after I experienced this well told and illustrated story. My thoughts goes to theese unfortunate children, whom according to the pictures still manages to find joy in their lifes.
I feel with these people its a hard life that they in no way deserve. Pictures like this really can make a difference. They tell a story but also chok poeple and make them think twice.
I'm from Belarus, Brest... I've never seen something so deep... they don't show anything on TV, but thank you for this "message". I'm under the shock...
... to even THINK about using atomic power. This is documented proof. So is Three Mile Island. Look up to the SUN.
Yes, the pictures are moving and the stories are touching. However, your photostory is based on a false premise. Most (if not all) of the children in orphanages and hospitals are not “the Chernobyl Legacy”. Please stop misinforming people. For everyone’s information, I include the following quote from Wikipedia about the Chernobyl Disaster: The 2005 report prepared by the Chernobyl Forum, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO), attributed 56 direct deaths (47 accident workers, and nine children with thyroid cancer), and estimated that as many as 9000 people among the approximately 6.6 million most highly exposed, may die from some form of cancer (one of the induced diseases). Nearly 20 years after the disaster, according to the Chernobyl Forum, none of the expected increases in leukemia have been found in the population, nor in the solid cancers.
so much for human rights and the un , we need a world wide body formed to clean up the acts of lunatics forever, one that will do whatever it takes to save us and this planet
i just thought this was amazing but there was one thing that got me.... inmates? thats kind of harsh to say about these poor children. they are not inmates by choice they are in a hospital/orphanage because of the way they were born. How about the orphans? or being sweet enough to call them what they are children. not inmates and even worse not a monster
Nice photo gallery and story, even if it is slightly wrong on some points. And a bit manipulative too. And stop making rush decitions too. Should all knives be forbitten because there has been an accident? You guys don't know enough to make these decitions. Very good anyways.
Thank you for showing us just how bad this was and is. Living here on the other side of the globe you never think about these things. I've heard of Chernobyl and knew what it was, but never knew any of this. About the hardships people are still facing, and how bad it was for the ones no longer here. I hope people look at this and realize how the world would end up if ever went to Nucular war. Radiation is one of the worst ways to die that I can think of. Thank you again, Dennis
I had never seen or heard of Chernobyl until my photography instructor John Gray sent me this link. It's amazing to see how much we are shielded from the truth and how unhappy and defensive it makes others become to find out their perfect world is not all that perfect at all and needs much aid and help. Without journalists like Mr. Fusco, things like Chernobyl, the Gaza Strip and many other similar incidents needing aid would never be acknowledged by others. Just because something can be used without harm does not mean it is safe to use. At the risk of thousands born without the luxury of typing on a computer, without the luxury of ever living a normal life, is it really worth the past 20 years of repercussions existing all over again? These are real people and they suffer every day because of ignorance people had.
dear Sir not often am i so touched by pictures, your pictures and story made me, a 44year old guy, cry like an infant
This broke my heart, my 5 yr. old boy is so lucky to live in the United States . I cried over and over again Pres. Bush needs to see this. God will renew all these children one day. Rick Esquivel
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