Nagasaki Journey: The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata was produced to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the atomic attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
The project resurrected the archive of a young Japanese army photographer sent to Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 - the same day of the attack on that city. Yosuke Yamahata arrived in the city that evening with just three rolls of film. His original negatives were damaged by pollutants, radiation, and time; consequently they were scanned for this project and the digital files were carefully retouched for use in the book and exhibitions. The photographer died of cancer in 1966, at the age of 48. Nagasaki Journey was produced by Christopher Beaver and Judy Irving of IDG Films,
Nagasaki Journey encompassed an exhibition that opened in three major locations simultaneously (Friends of Photography, San Francisco, ICP midtown NY, and in Nagasaki) and subsequently traveled throughout the US and Japan; a fully illustrated book published by Pomegranate Artbooks that I edited and wrote for; a web site hosted by the San Francisco Exploratorium (a breakthrough in this new medium); and a film by Judy Irving that was broadcast on PBS and NHK in Japan. The New York Times described the project as redefining conflict photography.
For Nagasaki Journey, I sequenced both the book and exhibition images; edited, partly wrote and researched the book; and worked closely with the designers and project directors. Other contributors to the book were Robert Jay Lifton, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Masafumi Suzuki, and Christopher Beaver. The project introduced me to digital and on-line technology, then in their nascent years. Online, an extensive public forum titled “Remembering Nagasaki” is still archived on the Exploratorium web site. The exhibition prints were a combination of digital inkjets produced by Nash Editions, located in Torrance, CA, and silver gelatin prints produced in the darkroom.
I am currently exploring the possibilities for a new version of the exhibition and book to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombings in 2020.