Facing Fukushima 2011-2013

58 images Created 27 Jan 2012

Facing Fukushima 2011 -2016

Man has now surpassed nature and has become our greatest menace. This work reflects a continuing, multi year commitment to document and engage in the reality of the Fukushima nuclear accident and the ubiquitous consequence of the tragedy. My initial intention was to work with an 8×10 view camera and to deliberately record and absorb this earth-shattering event. My interaction by design is not to be one who simply passes through. The work has become a life long commitment to keep the story alive with a continuing obligation to engage the people and landscape.
The first phase of this project was presented during FotoFest, In Houston and Santa Fe 2012. The full work includes the aftermath of the Tsunami as well as the early stages of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. The Japanese have lived through many natural disasters and prepared for a wide range of emergencies. During the last 4 years I have visited the communities and the lands directly affected recording the invisibly polluted landscape I will show my exploration into the effect of the unbridled quest to feed the consumer and grow modern economies.
Man is now the biggest threat to human survival, the act of nature that caused the destruction of large portions of coastal Tohoku, Japan has largely been repaired. The survivors, for the most part, are able to resume their lives much in the way they had lived before, except for those affected by the radioactive contamination generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Meltdowns. Life for many of than 150,000 nuclear refugees will never return to pre disaster normality, even for those who are allowed to return to their “decontaminated“ homes, less then 10% have committed to return unfortunately those who have returned are mostly elderly, the majority of families with young children have refused to return, not trusting the assurances of the government officials and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) who are the owner of the stricken plants.
As of March 2015, my work is focusing on those returning to towns within the original 20km evacuation zone as well as those who have chosen to leave the Zone. Perhaps we got off lucky. The major contaminate, Cesium 137, has a half-life of only 30 years. This means it will only take 300 years to naturally restore the environment to its pre accident state. This is also dependent on if the melted cores are stabilized. By then, hopefully we will understand the true cost, if we survive to add it to the tally of humanities negligence.
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