Lionel Delevingne: To the Village Square
Photojournalist Lionel Delevingne has documented the anti-nuclear movement for almost 40 years, starting in Montague and extending to Chernobyl in Ukraine, which at the time of the accident was under the jurisdiction of the Soviet Union, and Fukushima, Japan. Earlier this year Lionel compiled decades of his nuclear-related images into a book To the Village Square: From Montague to Fukushima 1975-2014.
On Tuesday January 27th, Lionel will give a lecture in conjunction with Anna Gyorgy (author/editor No Nukes, Everyone’s Guide to Nuclear Power) at the Portsmouth Public Library Levenson Room. Opening February 1st- March 18 Lionel will have an exhibition at the Guilderland Public Library in Guilderland, NY. On March 19th, he will give a lecture.
Lionel Delevingne is a photojournalist native of France, settled in the US since 1975, who has traveled and photographed throughout the world. His coverage of the sociopolitical and cultural environment have been widely praised and published in many diverse publications including: The New York Times, Le Figaro Magazine, Die Zeit, Newsweek, Washington Post Magazine, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, In These Times. The recipient of numerous grants, Delevingne’s work has had numerous solo exhibits through Europe and the United States. His work is collected at various private and public institutions including the Bibliothèque Nationale of France and the University of Massachusetts Dubois’ Special Collections Department. Mr. Delevingne is the founder of Delevingne & Associates, a publishing and consulting firm dedicated to education. Its clients have included among others: Phillips Academy at Andover, Collegiate, Rudolf Steiner and Harvard.
I am an independent photographer and journalist, born in France and sensitized by the events of May 1968 Paris. I traveled to the United States in 1971 and found myself documenting the Washington, D.C. May Day demonstrations. That is where I learned that the power of a peaceful but vocal citizenry could affect national policy.
Married to an American, I chose to live in Montague, Massachusetts, where I was privileged to witness the emergence of a new political force: activists mobilizing successfully against a proposed twin-reactor nuclear power plant. Documenting and reporting on the antinuclear/Safe Energy movement did not come easily at first because the established media did not view it as “fit to print.” Liberation News Service, Mother Jones, New Times, New Age, The Village Voice, and Le Sauvage/Nouvel Obs in France were among the few who understood the crucial importance of the issue and took my photographs. After the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, when the seriousness of the issue became clear to the mainstream press, my work was featured in Newsweek’s “10 years that shook America” in November 1979
This book is about power. Not just nuclear power but, as I have witnessed, the power of community to force action and make a change. Indeed, due to such action, no construction was commissioned for 30 years. And now, Entergy Nuclear corporation’s Vermont Yankee is due to close next year—another success that took three decades, lots of intelligence, perseverance, and grit by a small group of heroic activists to achieve. It is unfortunately clear to me that the threat of nuclear power remains real. In recent years, I have been appalled to see the co-opting of “green” by the nuclear industry’s lobbying spin-masters. It will be impossible for the reader viewing these photographs from Chernobyl and Fukushima not to reach the same conclusion. Evidence from these nuclear catastrophes confirms and reinforces that a safer energy alternative must be found.
This book is my small homage to the power of democracy in the pursuit of a safe and clean environment for us all. I dedicate this collection to the younger generation in the hopes that they will accept the torch passed by their parents’ generation and fight for themselves for the right to live with cleaner, renewable sustainable sources of energy. As Albert Einstein said in 1946, “To the village square we must carry the facts of Atomic energy; from there must come America’s voice.” As recent events have made clear, it is time to stand again, to defeat the scourge of nuclear energy.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Facing Fire: Art, Wildfire, and the End of Nature in the New WestFebruary 21st, 2020
Kathleen Y. Clark: The White House ChinaFebruary 18th, 2020
Charles Rozier: House MusicFebruary 17th, 2020
Thomas Sussex: Pathway TraceFebruary 6th, 2020