Haunting Photographs of Artifacts From the Hiroshima Atomic Blast

The Photo Blog
Aug. 27 2014 12:36 PM

Haunting Photographs of Artifacts From the Hiroshima Atomic Blast

140827_BEHOLD_hiroshima43

Ishiuchi Miyako

hiroshima43
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Through Ishiuchi Miyako’s lens, the things we leave behind are not merely totems of ourselves, but rather objects with lives of their own. An upcoming exhibit at Andrew Roth gallery presents “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—,” Ishiuchi's photos of objects in the archive of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Photographing belongings from the past is a technique Ishiuchi started with her series, “Mother’s.” “After her mother’s death, she began photographing her mother’s items of clothing and personal effects from her mother’s home,” Andrew Roth said. “It was her way of connecting to her mother and getting to know her mother and understanding something about their relationship as well.”

Ishiuchi_078
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_230
From "Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_128
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

In 2007, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened its archive to Ishiuchi, and since then she’s photographed hundreds of artifacts. Some of the objects came from bombed buildings or were found on the streets; others came from families who held onto items for decades after the blast. People are still coming into the museum to donate, Roth said. “It's not a nostalgic project. She’s not interested in that. She’s not even really interested in the history of what happened in Hiroshima because it’s known. She's more interested in the life of these objects she's photographing and the life that's there now,” he said.

Advertisement

Early on in her project, Ishiuchi photographed the objects on a light table, making the items of clothing translucent. She then shifted to photographing off the table and in the daylight, making the photographs more “about the physical thing itself.” All of the objects are fragile, so museum staff set each one out carefully for Ishiuchi on a tabletop or on the floor. “Since she’s often had an interest in how the body ages, she’s careful to choose artifacts to photograph that had contact with the body. That's why most artifacts are articles of clothing. They’re the extra layer that drapes over the skin of a body. Even the other artifacts—the shoes, the makeup kits, the wristwatch—had contact with the body somehow,” he said.

Ishiuchi_194
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_167
From "Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_215
From "Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Sometimes Ishiuchi photographs a full article of clothing. Other times, she zooms closer on the details or scars on the surface of the objects. “It's the body that she’s interested in and these artifacts take on a kind of life. I don’t think she's trying to get back to who the person was who was wearing the dress, for instance. It's more about getting to know the dress or the shirt today and what it has to say,” Roth said.

Ishiuchi's exhibit is on display at Andrew Roth gallery beginning Sept. 18. A talk between Ishiuchi and International Center of Photography curator Christopher Phillips will be open to the public at the NY Art Book Fair on Sept. 27.

Ishiuchi_016
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_019
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi_153
From “Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007—."

Ishiuchi Miyako

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?