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Sally Clark
Binh Danh
Ian Everard
James Fee
Shelby Graham
Hanna Hannah
Robin Kandel
Aaron Kerner
Elyse Koren-Camarra
Keith Muscutt
Katsushige Nakahashi
Rebecca Ramos
Hideki Shiozawa
Robynn Smith
Kenji Yanobe
 
The Yorozuya Bridge

"Truly traumatic photographs are rare, for photography the trauma is wholly dependent on the certainty that the scene 'really' happened: the photographer had to be there."

Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1996), 30.

Pictured is the Yorozuya Bridge in Hiroshima. The proper noun alone, "Hiroshima," fills the image with meaning. The photograph was taken shortly following the detonation of the world's second atomic weapon; the first used with lethal intent. What appear to be shadows are not. The bridge literally has become a photographic record of this catastrophic event. The thermal radiance of the atomic blast permanently cast these shadows, "a memory of shadows and stone" (Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima, mon amour, trans. Richard Seaver; New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1961; 23).

More specifically the elongated "shadow" at the bottom of the photograph is not some abstract impression of an architectural feature, it is the figure of a human being - vaporized. Gone in a single instant, erased from the face of the planet. In the footage available at right, you will see an American solider stepping into the place of the "shadow-man."

The bridge in Hiroshima, scarred by the horrors of the Second World War, is a metonymic link to the transgressive acts of the last century. The bridge is a text, signifying the horror and the suffering of the catastrophic experience.

 
 
 

Click image to see video.


Yorozuya Bridge Quicktime Video