Otsuchi Future Memories

Alejandro Chaskielberg

2012 - 2015

The small fishing town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, was probably the worst destroyed by the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. There, roughly ten percent of the population was killed or went missing and sixty percent of residential buildings sustained damaged.

This project connects images of inhabitants of Otsuchi that survived the tsunami with recovered family photographs that were swept away by the tsunami by putting them together, past and present. The colors found in the destroyed photographs are picked up and used to tint the B&W portraits of the residents of Otsuchi. Then, colors constitute a bridge between the recovered photographs from the past and photographs of the present, as a dialogue is established between them.

Otsuchi Future Memories intends a reflection on the dynamic relationship between family photographs and our memories when such tragedies happens. The tsunami caused considerable material damage, killing people and destroying entire communities, but above all, the survivors also face the intangible loss of their own memories and identities in which family photographs play a fundamental role.

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  • Four members of the same family poses in the ruins of their house that was destroyed a year before, by the 2011 tsunami, Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan

  • Let Image: The surfers Hiroshi Sugimoto, Eriko Sugimoto, Kei Sugimoto, Yuya Miura & Satoshi Tuchizawa at the Kiri Kiri Beach, standing up over a tsunami protection structure that was swept away by the 2011 tsunami
    Right Image: Recovered Photograph shows aerial view of Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture

  • Haruko Okano, a former worker of the Otsuchi Town Library, sat in the place where the library was before it was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan

  • A family album that was swept away by the 2011 tsunami, Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan

  • Let Image: A one hundred-year-old bonsai tree from Otsuchi Town
    Right Image: Recovered Photograph shows an old woman holding a baby

  • Two dancers of the Usuzawa Shishi Odori, Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan

  • Yuki Kawabata & Yosuke Yamazaki next to a Railway bridge destroyed by the Tsunami, Otsuchi Town

  • Let Image: Water breakers at the Kiri Kiri Beach
    Right Image: Recovered Photograph shows students during graduation ceremony

  • Monk Yoshihiro Ogayu standing in the place where the Kogan-ji temple was before its destruction by the 2011 tsunami

  • Let Image: Recovered Photograph shows the portrait of a young girl
    Right Image: A neighborhood of Otsuchi Town that was not affected by the Tsunami

  • Route signals marking the last tsunami inundation area

  • Let Image: Recovered Photograph shows people in roller coaster
    Right Image: A street light that was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami

  • Let Image: Recovered Photograph shows firefighters during training day
    Right Image: The Second Squad of Firefighters at the ruins of Otsuchi Fire Station

  • A photograph that was swept away by the 2011 tsunami shows a woman dressing a kimono along a young girl

  • The remains of a bathroom that was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, next to the new Otsuchi City Hall, Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan


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