Gerd Ludwig. The long shadow of Chernobyl
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This book is an invaluable documentary work: National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig has dared to go deeper than any other photographer into the belly of Reactor No. 4, which will soon disappear under the enormous New Safe Confinement. At the Pictures of the Year International (POYI) Competition his work was rewarded with the Best Photography Book Award.
Captivating images of National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig’s nine visits to Chernobyl in 20 years tell us tragic stories of the life of the victims, the Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat.
Ludwig ventures deeper into the belly of the beast than any other photographer, repeatedly documenting the destroyed reactor #4, which will disappear under a New Safe Confinement for at least 100 years. Bordering the site of the worst nuclear desaster to date, the abandoned city of Pripyat might face a similar destiny as authorities decide what to do with it.
“As engaged photographers“, says Ludwig, „we often report about human tragedies in the face of disaster, and take our cameras to uncharted areas with the understanding that our explorations are not without personal risk. We do this out of a deep commitment to important stories told on behalf of otherwise voiceless victims.“
An essay by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of state of the Soviet Union, accompanies Gerd Ludwig’s emotional visual narrative. In 1990 Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This book is an important body of documentary work in view of the ongoing nuclear desaster in Fukushima 25 years later.
Gerd Ludwig is an internationally renowned photographer and has been working primarily for National Geographic Magazine since 1989. His focus on environmental issues and the socio-economic changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc resulted in his ten-year retrospective exhibition and book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, published in 2001 by National Geographic in the US, Germany and Korea. His ongoing coverage of post-Soviet Russia has earned him the distinction of being the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. He has received numerous awards, including the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year.
Michail Gorbatschow was the last head of state of the Soviet Union, and helped bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. Mikhail Gorbachev had been Soviet leader for only 13 months when the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened.
29 x 31 cm
252 pages, 127 images
English, German, French