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Covering Christoph Niemann's nuclear flowers

The New Yorker has an interesting look behind the process that led to the final design of their recent cover (see above) created by Christoph Niemann (a SUNfiltered favorite) which reflects the delicate ongoing struggle and tragedy in Japan. This assignment was difficult because, as Niemann explained, “A drawing often comes across as lighthearted, and there’s obviously nothing lighthearted about this thing.”

Niemann was fascinated by the “eerie silence” in many of the interviews and video clips coming out of Japan following the earthquake. “Considering the force and destruction and scale of this, I thought it was a scarily quiet disaster,” he said.

The buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant do not have the hourglass shape we associate with nuclear power plants. “They have no recognizable shape whatsoever,” Niemann said. So he juxtaposed cherry blossoms with a universal icon: the radiation hazard trefoil.