Retrace our steps. Return to Fukushima

81395b_9a6e0ecdb9e847b9926ca302a34bb1ef
81395b_04936d487a614fa39586d5e177b979c3 81395b_7f4bbaa98957454e9f8747ef5d74a6bb 81395b_6fb740ee9e634ff6be24762e0032666e 81395b_20420bf0918d4d92aaafa2993cb0c047 81395b_038c1c7d6c27482eb2755310b6f5e792 81395b_26098aa1eba649a5bfa927bb74e53832 81395b_b43eb39fdf8b468c93847a4b7d31b158 81395b_f3a35b18b6674e65a2b38a0779b30a95 81395b_1e4505b92b744e68aa3340aeabb87c46 81395b_de71be2b0910486f9070ba33bddf8944 81395b_433660a369014d49b1f8d90ea8bb5983 81395b_e7ed410ead5b4f8885a17c55196d56cb 81395b_676d4d8cbae94307838c71bcef7214b6 81395b_7c24f2c992c344e3acbc32468144285b 81395b_1f045429838a4ee6a337f43ec891e8f9 81395b_140d9a42aafe4441854cdfea5f216273 81395b_00ddcda1eee94eb89e69e4f102ec724c 81395b_a381966f2cd646ebbe89ec787f903946 81395b_cb46625a25534816832e0e741812d620

Almost all of the 80,000 nuclear refugees forced to evacuate areas near the Fukushima Daiichi plant have at times felt compelled to return to their homes, schools and businesses. When they did, they struggled to recognize places that had once been so familiar to them. Damage from earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, years of absence and the arrival of rodents have rendered the buildings practically unrecognizable. We asked former residents or inhabitant from the Fukushima region, and in some cases, the actual owners of certain properties, to join us inside the no-go zone and open the doors to these ordinary, but now unfriendly, places. Facing the camera, they were asked to act as normally as possible – as if nothing had happened. The idea behind these almost surreal photographs was to combine the banal and the unusual. The fact of the historical nuclear accident gives these images a real plausibility.

Since the tsunami and the nuclear catastrophe of March 2011, Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bression have made regular visits to the region of Fukushima, and especially to the “no man’s land” around the stricken power station.

The fruit of their numerous visits is five series of strongly aesthetic photographs which mix posed situations with a documentary approach. Offbeat photos, which stimulate thought at the consequences of a nuclear accident on such a scale.
What remains in a region where 80.000 people were evacuated from one day to the next? –“Clair-obscur” How do you live with a menace that is as invisible and poorly documented as radioactivity? – “Bad dreams” How does nature make its mark on every building, every thing, as time goes by? – “Nature” How have abandoned objects become the relics of a modern Pompeii? “Packshots”

And finally, what do the former residents think about going back to their ghost towns? For the last series, called “Retracing our steps”, they asked former residents – sometimes the owners – to come back to their shop or their school, to open the door of those places that were so ordinary before. They also invited some of the residents of Fukushima region to go with them to this zone where entry is now forbidden. A way for them to see for themselves the impact of the disaster.
In front of the camera, however, they are invited to act as if nothing had happened, and to behave normally. The normal and the strange intermingle in these almost surreal yet plausible photographs, the sequel of a historically important nuclear accident.

Ayesta and Bression seek to only record the consequences of a massive and durable evacuation, at least for the towns closest to the power station. Theirs is not the work of activists.

Read More about this project.

Making Of