Lost and Found Project: Family photos swept by the 3.11 East Japan tsunami will open at CCP Melbourne tomorrow May 31st at 6pm before coming to Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura.
This powerful exhibition displays damaged and orphaned family photographs retrieved during the clean up efforts following the devastating tsunami in March 2011. About 750,000 photos were collected from the rubble and volunteers for The Memory Salvage Project have cleaned, digitized, numbered and returned at least 20,000 family snapshots but some were too badly eroded to ever be identified.
In New Yorker's Photobooth, photographer Munemasa Takahashi speaks of the exhibition and why the images are so moving:
After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs… Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that. This exhibit makes us think of what we have lost, and what we still have to remember about our past.
The Aperture exposures blog also had an extract from Aperture magazine issue 206 , where photography critic Mariko Takeuchi writes:
In the cities, towns, and village affected by the disaster, a vast number of personal photographs were salvaged, pulled from underneath rubble and mud by all sorts of people. They were discolored by saltwater and covered with dirt; some were misshapen or even emitted foul odors. With very few exceptions, it was impossible to identify the people who had made the photographs, their subjects, or their owners—if indeed they were still alive.
This exhibition humanizes the troubling abstraction statistics and death tolls and generated world-wide interest and a Discovery channel special . Thousands of these abstracted images have been assembled into this powerful and visually stunning travelling exhibition.