Blog posts


Jean-Paul's goods

This is what was missing from the photo of Jean-Paul.

If you really want to see the whole, uncensored photo, follow this link.

If you stumbled upon this page from elsewhere, read the story here.

Jean-Paul uncensored

This is the uncensored version of Jean-Paul's portrait.

Back to the story here.

Press Releases

Old press releases about Michael's work are filed below.

Art and Activism Against the Drill 12/2010

FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill
An art exhibition and public dialogue about the ravages of natural gas drilling

Dates: December 7, 2010 - February 5, 2011
Opening Reception: Tuesday, December 7, 7-9pm

Exit Art
475 10th Avenue, at 36th Street
New York, NY 10018

More details here.

After Chernobyl Madison exhibit, Sept 4. 2009

Press Release - September 4, 2009 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After Chernobyl: Photo Exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart

If you lived near Chernobyl, would you stay?

Madison photographer Michael Forster Rothbart has just returned from a year in Chernobyl. He received a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship to photograph and interview Ukrainians who remain in villages near Chernobyl a generation after the 1986 accident.

After Chernobyl, an exhibit of Forster Rothbart’s documentary photographs, will be displayed for two months in the Madison Municipal Building ARTspace gallery, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., from September 3 to October 30, 2009. The exhibit reveals daily life for Chernobylites, including residents who chose to stay in the Chernobyl-affected region and liquidators, veterans of the massive Soviet clean-up after the accident.

“Most visitors think Chernobyl is a place of danger and despair, and so this is what they photograph. For me, however, Chernobyl tells a story about endurance and hope,” says Forster Rothbart. “I created this exhibit because I want the world to know what I know: the people of Chernobyl are not victims, mutants and orphans. They are simply people living their lives, with their own joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. Like you. Like me.”

Forster Rothbart was a staff photographer for University of Wisconsin-Madison for six years and worked previously as an Associated Press photographer in Kazakhstan. During the past year, he lived in Sukachi, Ukraine, a small farming village just outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. He also spent time in Slavutych, Ukraine, the city built after the accident to house evacuated Chernobyl plant personnel.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Madison Arts Commission and FOCCUS (Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S.), a Madison-based non-profit that works with community centers in the Chernobyl region. Meuer Art & Picture Frame Co. and UW-Madison CREECA (Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia) also contributed to the exhibit.

Forster Rothbart worked closely with FOCCUS, founded by UW-Madison professor Norma Berkowitz in 1996. A FOCCUS fundraiser on Oct. 22, 2009 will coincide with the exhibit. Details will be available at

A second exhibit of Forster Rothbart’s work, Inside Chernobyl, documents the lives of nine of the 3,800 people who continue to work inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This second exhibit premiered in Kyiv, Ukraine, last April and will travel to Washington D.C. in 2010. Forster Rothbart is working with media partner to create interactive online versions of both exhibits.

The City of Madison distributes funds to Madison artists and non-profit organizations through the Madison Arts Commission's annual grant programs. The Madison Arts Commission’s ARTspace program is open to all Madison visual artists who would like to showcase original two-dimensional works in highly utilized cityspaces. For more information visit our website at

For information about the Madison exhibit, contact:

Robert Schuettpelz
FOCCUS Executive Director

For interviews, contact:
Michael Forster Rothbart

Photographs are available for media use at:


Exhibit opening in Slavutych, June 2, 2009

Press Release

Inside Chernobyl: life goes on
Photography Exhibition

If you worked at Chernobyl, would you stay there?

A new photography exhibition reveals the inside of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today, focusing on the everyday lives of nine people who still work there. Created by an American photographer and Fulbright Scholar, this exhibition honors all those who work inside the Chernobyl plant, and the city of Slavutych where they live.

Highlights of this unusual exhibit are:
• Two 7-meter-long circular panoramas, showing Control Room 1 and the entire plant, giving visitors the impression of standing inside the site.
• Never-before seen photographs from inside the 4th Block “Object Shelter.”
• Life stories told by the people who work at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The “Inside Chernobyl: life goes on” photography exhibit will be displayed for one month, June 5th to July 3rd, 2009, in the Slavutych museum, which is located at 7 Druzhby Narodiv Street in Slavutych.

The exhibit will open June 5th, 2009 at 7 p.m..

Invited speakers include:
• Director of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Igor Gramotkin
• Assistant director of the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan John Baynard
• Slavutych mayor Volodymyr Udovychenko
• Director of rehabilitation centre for Chornobyl accident victims Viktor Odynytsya
• Photographer Michael Forster Rothbart

The five families profiled were chosen to represent a diverse cross-section of their community. Through large-scale photographs and texts based on personal interviews, viewers will learn about the workers’ jobs and lives.

The exhibit was created by American photojournalist Michael Forster Rothbart, in cooperation with residents of Slavutych. Forster Rothbart is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine. He has been photographing the lives of villagers near Chernobyl since 2007.

This exhibition was made possible through generous support from:
Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan Project Management Unit
Fulbright Program in Ukraine
United States Embassy in Ukraine

For more information and media accreditation, please contact:
Natasha Gryvnyak,
Exhibit public relations manager
nataliegryvnyak (at)
Photographs are available for media use at:

Michael Forster Rothbart can be reached at info (at)


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