It’s been more than a year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The full extent of the consequences is still not very clear. There’s again big concern about the danger at the nuclear plants.
We all remember it very well. The images that went all around the world were devastating. People died, people survived, people were left behind.
Japan is trying to look towards the future. But sometimes the past is necessary to be able to move forward. People who have lost everything, their family, their home, how can they forget the past? We are our past. We need our past to hold on to.
That’s maybe why we all take pictures. To make memories visible and tangible. To look back on what we did, on what we were, on what we had.
The Lost and Found Project is exactly trying to do this: give people back a part of their past. After the tsunami had swept away everything and the clean-up started, thousands and thousands of family photos were salvaged. Unnecessary to say that great part of them was damaged beyond recognition. Images were completely or partially destroyed because of the water. Nevertheless Lost and Found has painstakingly cleaned and dried all the photos they found. Then the images were digitized and organized in a database. This has allowed people to get their photos back. Photos of survivors, but also photos of lost relatives and friends.
A picture cannot undo the suffering. But it can mean a lot to people who have lost everything. It can at least bring back some good old memories from before the devastation.
[this exhibition, at the Aperture Foundation in New York City, is traveling the world to raise funds. You may want to check out http://www.lostandfound311.jp for upcoming locations]