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Return to Fukushima

Return to Fukushima

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Following on from her epic photographical journey behind the Iron Curtain in ‘Soviet Ghosts, The Soviet Union Abandoned: A Communist Empire in Decay’, her first book with Carpet Bombing Culture, Rebecca trains her lens on Fukushima to explore the Nuclear meltdown.

It is the worst nightmare of modern humanity. Forces we barely understand that seem so fundamentally powerful and dangerous that we think of them only in terms of profound unease. Isotopic radiation – the worst of all monsters, the invisible fiend that can alter our very DNA.

An idea so terrifying that the thought of it alone kills more people than the effects of the isotopes. A thirty mile exclusion zone was established and a mass exodus of residents scattered out across Japan. Whole towns and villages were evacuated. Some villages were completely washed away by the sea. In these places, once called home, the clock stopped on 3/11. Cats and farm animals starved in the streets. Food rotted in restaurant bowls. Silence reigned.

But this year, 2016, for the first time – residents of the town of Tomioka were given permission to return to walk their streets in the midst of a beautiful display of cherry blossom. Rebecca Bathory was finally given permission to photograph in the exclusion zone – to capture for future generations this dark yet hopeful moment in their history.

This collection of images is intended to capture the sadness of a moment in history, a moment that is relevant to us all as we are increasingly being forced to decide what our future will look like. In the end, these macro-economic decisions are measured out in individual human lives, losses and hopes.

Where do you stand on nuclear power? Don’t answer, not yet, at least until you return to Fukushima…

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