This book presents a series of diptychs of Toshiya Watanabe’s hometown of Namiemachi in Fukushima-the first photo showing the subject shortly after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the second photo of the same subject from the same viewpoint a few years later.
Namiemachi was declared off-limits following the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, yet when Watanabe did gain permission to return he photographed around his family and friends’ homes, his former school route and areas where he played as a child. In some of the resulting diptychs only a short space of time seems to have passed between photos, with little changed besides the weather. In others, entire life phases seem to have come and gone-in one pair, a 7-Eleven first stands proudly before becoming a boarded-up relic; in another, a collapsed building is replaced by a vacant lot covered with foliage. “At first,” Watanabe remembers, “I felt like time had stopped. But gradually the town fell into ruin, as if going against the current of history. “
‘Toshiya Watanabe’s “Thereafter” project engages with a deeply personal and universally timely question of how to represent the impact of the 3.11 tragedy.’ -Charlotte Cotton