Yosuke Yamahata’s Nagasaki Journey

Yosuke Yamahata


Click on the link to view Yamahata’s photographs which were all taken in a single day. http://www.exploratorium.edu/nagasaki/mainn.html


                                                 what a camera captures it keeps

                                          such power


                                          what truth might be spoken

                                          what lie might be sold

                                         what secret can a camera’s heart hold


@ wojcik



  1. slpmartin said,

    August 6, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Now we rewrite history with photoshop…changing the visual facts to meet a specific purpose (e.g., BP’s Control Center, Obama walking along the gulf coast, etc.)…thanks for reminding us what photography used to do.

    • August 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Slpmartin. I really really “LIKE” your comment regarding rewriting history. Great issue to think about. Don’t thank me, thank Yamahata for refusing to destroy the truth in the photos. I discovered his work years ago in a book on a clearance table in a big bookstore. I couldn’t believe the incredible quality of the images and the power of their immedicacy. He may have been sent to shoot photos for propaganda purposes–(which they were NEVER used for once seen) but he surely did not shoot/create propaganda. He recorded the ‘truth’ in images.

  2. lesliepaints said,

    August 6, 2010 at 2:31 am

    I like the comment the photographer made on his site about how the visual was horrible but he remained calm as he shot these photos, saying perhaps it was so horrible that there was nothing to do but continue to record what had happened. I think we call that shock.

    • August 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      I think I ‘agree’ with your conclusion of “shock”. There is one photo of a woman breastfeeding a dying baby and she looks totally immersed in “shock.” Yamahata is the only person to photograph at ground level very soon after the bomb. I admire him as a photographer and as a young person who walked through that hell without a complaint while recording it with his camera.

  3. dustus said,

    August 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I like to think my camera has a heart working in tandem with it’s eyes. lol Like how the repetition of “what” in the poem also provides a rhetorical or unanswered element to the piece…. Charles comment reminds me of Jean Baudrillard discussing simulacrum. Not sure how I feel about that. Amazing photography. Thanks for introducing me to Yamahata.

    • August 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Adam. Glad you’ve found Yamahata’s work worth discovering. As for the “what” in the poem–well, the word helps to raise questions about a number of things instead of the finality of having everything spelled/written out for an audience which leaves not much to ‘discover’, discuss or explore–in my opinion. Especially in relation to ‘secrets’ and lies and truth–now those can all be very nebulous. I don’t think much is nice and neat and all wrapped up in pretty little packages in life, so why should it be so in poetry?
      As for Charles—I’ll let him speak for himself regarding your observation.
      Thanks for exploring.

  4. Oscar Zed said,

    August 13, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I spent 5 years of my life in a small Wyoming town with an outlook on what I thought was called “Heart Mountain”.

    I never knew about the Japanese-American Internment Camp called “Hart Mountain” which was near it. I cannot believe that 3 whole towns who were nearby were oblivious to it.

    Yet everything was hidden quite well.

    • August 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Hidden–so much for “Truth”, eh, Zed. How did you learn about the Internment Camp?

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