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Miyako Ishiuchi

Artist 10 Miyako Ishiuchi Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007




Miyako Ishiuchi is a Japanese artist who specializes in documentary and auto-biographical photography.



In the 1970s Japanese photography examined postwar trauma while also exploring new directions for photography in the new, postwar era.

She began to take close-ups of the bodies of the very old in the early 1990s. More recently, her photographs have addressed themes of skin, clothing, and time.

In Hiroshima (2008), she photographed the clothes of victims from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


In Frida: Love and Pain (2012), she was invited by the Frida Kahlo Museum to photograph the Frida Kahlo's personal artifacts.


Today I’ll be focusing on the photography series ‘Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/Hiroshima 1945/2007’




Since 2007, Ishiuchi has returned each year to Hiroshima to photograph more artifacts selected from the collection of over 19,000 items; she has chosen to focus on those that had direct contact with the body of a victim. It is an ongoing project.





For Ishiuchi the act of photographing has been largely autobiographical, as a way to decipher her feelings about her past.

This series holds power in its simplicity. When I think of atomic bomb and it’s aftermath it is hard to not picture the iconic cloud or think of graphic photos of people suffering. But these types of photos focus on the horror not on the people.

By dealing with personal belongings such as clothing Ishiuchi begins to place importance on the lives affected by Hiroshima. Each item was chosen by someone. Clothing is a universal item we use day to day. It reflects our personality, our work and our style.

Focusing on one item of clothing at a time she also places emphasis that each person involved is important and needs recording. They stop being numbers or statistics.

I feel this series is very powerful and her style of photography draws you into the unique particulars which makes us human.




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