Photography, Music, Fractal Art

Tsunami in Japan

As a video cameraman (my day job), I am often called into dramatic situations, or the aftermath thereof, but few equaled those trips I have taken (and still take) into northern Japan since the triple disaster (quake, tsunami, nuclear catastrophe) that struck Tohoku on 11 March 2011. I first set foot in the town of Minamisanriku on 22 March, and in between my responsibilities as a TV cameraman/technician, I stole what moments I could to take still photos of the unbelievable scenes that met my eyes.

The pictures in this gallery were shot using a technique called HDR (high dynamic range imaging). I have had a number of exhibitions of the images, in Japan and Germany, and they have caused some stir. Many have asked me why I chose to present such destruction in an aesthetic way. In answer to this I wrote a preface to my exhibitions, which I reproduce here:

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Arriving in Minamisanriku less than two weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami was like entering a cruel dream world. The immensity of the loss was staggering, impossible to comprehend. In my few spare moments between live TV transmissions, I wandered through the ruined landscape, trying to make emotional sense of what I was seeing. The elements of normality were all there, but bent, broken and twisted into a terrible caricature of what had existed before. Some parts of this phantasmagoria were unrecognizable, others–a stuffed toy, a shoe, a handbag–were shocking in juxtaposition.

As a photographer, it has always been my aim to try to communicate in ways that words cannot, on feeling levels that exist within us deep below speech and reason. And though I also love to write, no words came to me, standing there, that could adequately describe what lay before my eyes. I knew then that I had to try to use my images to convey what could not be said, to describe not only the pain and sorrow, but also the wonder and the awe that flowed through me observing the aftermath of this singular event. Such acts of nature are extreme, but they bring us to a fuller comprehension of the depth and breadth of the world through which our lives flow.

Please take your time and allow yourself to enter this world in which I stood. If these photographs arouse within you even the smallest measure of the cacophony of feelings that I experienced there, I will consider my job well done.

2 Comments

  1. Victor
    2014/06/04 @ 14:36

    Truly haunting, the artistic spin given to the images with HDR is disturbing and beautiful all at once. I remember that day. I sat in comfort and watched as the waters that gave life to those towns turned on the land and took back everything it had given.

    Reply

  2. Samuel
    2016/04/20 @ 20:14

    I am interested in that photo of the overturned steam locomotive. Is it possible to me to enlarge that particular image?

    Reply

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