Second Place, Magazine Photographer of the Year
Randy Olson, Freelance/National Geographic
Siberia: Hell with the Lid On"
Norilsk, Siberia, is the largest town in the world north of the Arctic Circle and the most polluted. Stalin built this town as a gulag to send political prisoners to work camps at the nickel mines and smelters. Conditions at the Norilsk mine and smelter haven't changed much since Stalin. The mine is one of Russia's many environmental problems ignored today because of economic pressures. And residents are unable to leave - the cost of living elsewhere is too great. Norilsk would not exist under capitalism. Communism didn't figure in the cost of transportation when they moved this huge industrial complex and 300,000 people up here. If they had done the math, they would have understood there was no way to make money is such an isolated place. Years later, trapped people are paying the price for that mistake.