Shomei Tomatsu. Hibakusha Senji Yamaguchi, Nagasaki. 1962

Shomei Tomatsu Hibakusha Senji Yamaguchi, Nagasaki 1962

  • Not on view

Tomatsu began taking photographs in 1950, when he was twenty years old, and living near an American military base in Nagoya. His images reflect the devastating impact of the war on the landscape and on the lives of his neighbors, as well as the continuing presence of the United States military, which extended long after the war had ended. Tomatsu first visited Nagasaki with the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), but found himself returning year after year, drawn in shock and horror to the experiences endured by the hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings in Japan. "What I saw in Nagasaki were not only the scars of war, but a never-ending postwar. I, who had thought of ruins only as the transmutation of the cityscape, learned that ruins lie within people as well."

Gallery label from Soldier, Spectre, Shaman: The Figure and the Second World War, October 24, 2015-March 20, 2016.
Gelatin silver print
12 15/16 × 8 13/16" (33 × 22.4 cm)
Gift of the artist
Object number
© 2021 Shomei Tomatsu

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