March 11th, 2013
August 28th, 2012
Funakoshi: 95% of this fishing community was destroyed by the tsunami. All Images © Michel Huneault/Cosmos/Polaris.
An earthquake in the Tōhoku region of Japan triggered a tsunami that devastated the Pacific coastal area and resulted in nuclear disaster two days later, on March 11, 2011. This tragedy resulted in 15,880 deaths, 6,135 injuries, 2,694 missing persons, and hundreds of thousands of buildings damaged or completely destroyed.
Photographer Michel Huneault, who lives in Montreal, went to Tōhoku 13 months after the catastrophic event, splitting his time between documenting and volunteering. The result is a multilayered project that documents more than 155 miles of coastline, from Fukushima to Kesennuma, over a period of three months in late spring 2012. Huneault’s series mixes photographs, composite panoramas, HD videos and sound captures. “I want the viewer to experience in multiple ways the weight of emptiness and absence one must carry within the area. This is a necessary step to understand the larger impacts of this event.” To see more work from the series, visit Huneault’s website.
To see other photography series about Tōhoku, click here. (more…)
March 29th, 2012
All photos © Hiroki Kobayashi
When the tsunami and earthquake struck Japan last March, Japanese photographer Hiroki Kobayashi was living in New York City. During the months that followed, he relied on news and media outlets to stay up to date on his home country. Yet he still found himself confused about what was happening on the ground, so when an assignment came along that would take him to Japan, he hoped traveling to the northeastern coast would help him better understand the situation. What he saw both surprised and inspired him.
In the town of Minami-Sanriku he met a group of fisherman who had banded together in order to help one another survive. They were all still living in temporary shelters. Yet they were sharing the two remaining fishing boats that were still sea-worthy, and dividing their earnings amongst one another. “Even though these fishermen lost their homes and so much of their livelihood, they look to the future with a positive and inspirational resolve,” Kobayashi says, adding that this optimism is often missing in the news reported by the mainstream media.
The resulting work, “Altered Land,” was recently exhibited at FiveMyles gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Kobayashi’s series “Slave Theater,” which documents a Brooklyn building with a storied history, will be exhibited in Japan next month and the BRIC Rotunda Gallery in 2013.
November 22nd, 2011
© Tetsugo Hyakutake. Courtesy of Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the undersea earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Northern Japan. In observance of the tragedy, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) is exhibiting “Silent Existence” by the fine-art photographer Tetsugo Hyakutake. Through his images, Hyakutake has said that he wishes to explore “contemporary issues in relation to their historical contexts.” For “Silent Existence,” the contemporary and historical meld into one, as the images show the destruction caused by the tsunami soon after it occurred. The resulting photos have a quiet sadness to them, featuring the things the wave left behind.
September 28th, 2011
All photos © Giulio Di Sturco.
Despite being home to the world’s largest breakwater, the port city of Kamaishi, Japan, was partially destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami last March 11. This former capital of Samurai steel production was bombarded by the US navy during WWII, and has survived several tsunamis in the past. Now, the surviving residents are attempting to pick up the pieces, and start life again. Yumi Goto, a curator, discovered Giulio Di Sturco’s images of the city when he contributed to the “3/11 Tsunami Photo Project,” an iPad/iPhone photography book app that Goto edited. “When he attempted to photograph certain areas, he was told that there was no need as there was nothing newsworthy to be found,” Goto says. “Believing that he would find people stranded there, he ignored the advice [and] reached places beyond where other photographers stopped. The enormous challenges that he faced are apparent in the photographs.” Giulio Di Sturco’s Tsunami project will be on view in the exhibition, “11-3″ at Galleria Openmind in Milano, Italy, from Nov. 24 – Jan. 20, 2012.
All photos © Jake Price
The six-month anniversary of the March 11 tsunami that struck northeastern Japan came and went with little attention in the Western press. But New York-based photographer Jake Price, who has spent a total of ten weeks in Tōhoku since March, believes the environmental devastation the disaster wrought will be a story for a long time to come. While the media has focused on nuclear contamination, he says, “Walking past overturned boats, cars, trucks, I realized that their oil, gas and other chemicals emptied into the soil and groundwater.” He photographed mounds made from the bulldozed debris of entire towns, which contain insulation, fiberglas and chemical contaminants.
The salt water and oil that washed into farms has made the land unusable for five years or more. ”Many elderly farmers will never see growth on their land again. Still they work diligently to hand it off to future generations, an issue that is filled with uncertainty because so many young people have left for the big cities.”
Price shot many still images, video and audio in the region, and the BBC showed some of his images in an audio slide show.
Of the limited press attention paid to the crisis, Price notes, “I think the perception … is that the Japanese have everything figured out because it is such an orderly society. But that is simplistic at best. People are still coping with enormous stress and loneliness after losing everything.”
Though assignments to cover the story are rare, Price is planning to return to the region soon. “The more I get to know about Tōhoku the more interested I become.” He wants to donate his images to libraries and community centers to help the region begin restoring the visual record lost in the tsunami.