Return to Fukishima

April 18, 2017

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory
Photo by Rebecca Bathory

Photographer Rebecca Bathory records time standing still in nuclear-ravaged Fukishima

 

On March 11, 2011, time stopped in Fukishima, Japan. 

 

An earthquake had shattered the region. A tsunami followed, disabling the emergency backup at the Fukishima I Nuclear Power Plant, leading to a meltdown and radioactive waves released into the atmosphere. An entire city fled, and until last year, they weren't able to return to assess the catastrophic damage.

 

Rebecca Bathory, a British photographer known for her project Soviet Ghosts, in which she returned to abandoned Soviet spaces, was one of the people who received exclusive access to return to Fukishima. She has compiled her images in a new book out in Canada in May, Return to Fukishima (Carpet Bombing Culture, $37), which also describes the pain she felt visiting the site.

 

"I know emotionally that I will not be able to return here," Bathory writes in Return to Fukishima. "I felt excitement in the first few days, capturing these photos, in that same way as I have done in previous years. The rush of seeing something unique and unlike what I've photographed before. But [the] fourth day changed it all, the story unfolding bit by bit and I felt true heartbreak. I felt like I’d crossed the line between what I should and shouldn't photograph. Maybe this is why there aren?t that many photographs of this place. It's a heart-wrenching story, told through these photos."

 

Using a medium-format Mamiya Leaf Credo 80, as well as a Phantom 3 Pro drone, Bathory shot mostly personal and man-made objects using a documentary-style approach, to show the emotion of the tragedy. "I wanted my photos to capture the beauty that still exists in the area, because despite the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the evacuation of the town, it is still a place of serenity and peace," she writes. "Even more so, as human life is removed, nature claims back this devastated area."

 

For more from Rebecca Bathory, pick up Return to Fukishima in May, or check out her Facebook and Instagram feeds. See some of her images from the book below, as well as in the top slider. 

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

 

Photo by Rebecca Bathory

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