ROLLS TOHOKU is basically the best collection of images to surface from Tohoku, the area of Japan that has been damaged by the tsunami. The concept of the ROLLS project is simple: give people in these areas disposable cameras, have them shoot over the course of a few days, show the unedited results online. In taking a photo of something tragic there’s always the possibility of just turning it into an easily consumable aesthetic object. That’s not at all the case here though. I want to thank the guy who thought of this project, not because I think it’s going to produce the next wave of photo stars but because it is pleasant to see something real.
What’s really excellent about this project is that it tells you if the photographer is an adult or child, and also where they are currently living. I was particularly struck by photos taken by a few different children around Watanoha Elementary School, near Ishinomaki (Google Map here).
There’s a whole range of emotions here, which sometimes are a bit surprising. We can see some friends running around and making faces for the camera in front of piles of debris which have been piled up in the schoolyard. On the one hand I think: kids are kids, put a camera in front of a 12-year-old and they’re damn well going to make a funny face. Still, it seems like they are well aware of what’s happening, so maybe they are just making the best of the situation, “putting one foot in front of the other” and getting on with their lives. In any case, this is essential viewing.
I’ve updated my earlier post with links related to the earthquake, and will continue to add relevant projects as they show up.