Michael Forster Rothbart
Oneonta, NY 13820, USA
Photojournalist Michael Forster Rothbart’s work explores the human impacts of environmental contamination. A Fulbright Fellowship enabled him to live for two years near Chernobyl, interviewing and photographing those who remain a generation after the 1986 accident. He lived in Sukachi, Ukraine, a small farming village just outside the Exclusion Zone. In 2012, he started a parallel project in Fukushima; this work continued in 2015 with funding from ICFJ and NPPA.
Michael’s book Would You Stay?, about daily life after both nuclear disasters, was published by TED Books in 2013 (bit.ly/TED-Would-You-Stay). His book, photo exhibits and interactive website (afterchernobyl.com) explore questions about home: How do people cope when their homeland changes irreversibly? Why do so many stay?
Past projects have taken him to Bhopal, India, the Semey Polygon nuclear testing site in Kazakhstan, oilfields in Azerbaijan, hydrofracking sites in Pennsylvania, and the Canadian Arctic. He lives in upstate New York, and shoots for newspapers including the Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post, and magazine including recently Popular Science and The "New" Republic. Previously, he photographed for Associated Press in Central Asia and worked as university photographer at UW-Madison.