Mois de la Photo Paris 2012
Pinacothèque de Paris
On 11 March 2011, a 9 magnitude earthquake struck off Honshu, Japan. The tsunami that followed devastated almost six hundred kilometres of the Tohoku region’s coastline. It resulted in twenty-one thousand victims, either dead or missing, and totally or partially destroyed numerous cities and harbour zones. The same day, around two hundred and fifteen thousand people living closes to the disaster – stricken zone were evacuated. They were followed by the hundreds of thousands residing in a thirty-kilometre radius, who were also obliged to leave.
In November 2011 and February 2012, I went to this region, without any preconceived idea of what I would do there. I was above all haunted by the necessity to confront a reality that escaped my grasp and which my imagination rejected. I travelled across the four hundred kilometres of coastline that had been most badly affected. An extreme isolation reigned there. The giant wave had spared nothing. I photographed landscapes without thinking, convinced that I needed time to comprehend this cataclysm. In these ravaged places there was no one to testify to what had taken place. It was a dead desert, without faces or voices.
I then wanted to locate the people who had once lived there. I went to the clusters of temporary housing – the kasetsu jutaku – built after the disaster to rehouse the homeless...
Excerpt from text by Denis Rouvre