Hiroshima Photographs Attempt To Measure Damage [Photos]
What can a suitcase, found in a pile of garbage, tell us about Hiroshima and its legacy?
The suitcase was found eleven years ago by a man who was out taking his dog for a walk in Watertown, Massachusetts. Inside were 700 photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima. The images depict an annihilated city: twisted girders, imploded buildings, miles of rubble. This was the original Ground Zero, a term first used in 1946 to describe the epicenter of the blast.
1946 was also the same year that the writer Mary McCarthy called our understanding of Hiroshima "a kind of hole in human history."
Since then, accounts by survivors of the bombing have been published, documentaries have been produced and historians have fiercely debated the decision of why the bomb was dropped in the first place.
And yet the photographic record of what took place in Hiroshima has long been absent. Our lack of visual evidence of the atom bomb's effect has helped us to deny its devastating impact.
Distorted steel-frame structure of Odamasa Store, Hiroshima, November 20, 1945
Cemetery with debris, on the grounds of Kokutai Temple, showing sacred camphor tree charred by blast and Bank of Japan in background, Hiroshima, November 5, 1945
Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome), October 24, 1945
"Shadow" of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank; radiant heat instantly burned paint where the heat rays were not obstructed, Hiroshima, October 14-November 26, 1945
Charred boy's jacket found near Hiroshima City Hall, November 5, 1945
Remains of a school building, November 17, 1945
Ruins of Chugoku Coal Distribution Company or Hiroshima Gas Company, November 8, 1945
Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire, November 1, 1945
Buckle of north wall of wing number one of Funairi Grammar School, Hiroshima, November 20, 1945
Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima, October 31, 1945
Steel stairs warped by intense heat from burned book stacks of Asano Library, Hiroshima, November 15, 1945
Complete destruction of wooden floor and telephone switch and relay racks of Hiroshima Telephone Company, Central District Exchange, October 28, 1945
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