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A suite of body-length photograms that evoke the shadows of victims vaporized by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
69 backers pledged $2,715 to help bring this project to life.

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$2,715

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Thank you for all your generosity! We've exceeded our goal but Shadows still needs your support. We encountered some unexpected technical difficulties, which are now solved (see our update), but that means there were unexpected expenses too.

About the Project

August 6th and 9th, 2013 are the 68th anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When the atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people within 300 meters of the hypocenters were instantly vaporized by the intense heat, leaving nothing behind but faint “shadows” on nearby walls, pavement, and other stone and concrete surfaces that weren’t vaporized with them.

– Karl Young, International Shadows Project

Collaborating artists Anna Daedalus and Kerry Davis have designed and built a custom camera-less photo booth as a memory instrument to create body-length photograms that evoke those shadows. On May 12, 2013, a public photo session was held at The White Box at U of O (Portland) in which participants were invited to lend their shadows in commemoration. A selection of the resulting images will be on view June 6 – August 11 at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in conjunction with the 2013 commemoration of Hiroshima Day. 

The participatory and experiential aspects of both the booth and the prints (which with their human scale and form act as dark mirrors) are central to the project, and meant to encourage meditation & inquiry. Avoiding sensationalism, the artists look to the poetic potency of the shadow images as a way to approach the unfathomable: the complete, instantaneous erasure of thousands of human beings, whose only remaining trace was a shadow, a negative darkness surrounded by stone or concrete scorched white. To borrow the poet Susan Howe's eloquent words, "If history is a record of survivors, poetry shelters other voices" (Incloser). This project is intended as just such a shelter.

Shadows is supported in part by a project grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Shadow study
Shadow study

What is a photogram?

A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects between a light source and the surface of a light-sensitive material (such as photographic paper). The experiments of artists such as Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy are among the best-known historical examples.

How your donation will help

Underwriting the considerable costs of the 99-foot long rolls of photographic paper and custom-made Shadow Box will be possible with your help. We've received partial funding for Shadows from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and generous in-kind donations from other parties. Your donation will help bridge the gap. Should we raise more funds than anticipated, the surplus will allow us to mount more of the images and pursue additional exhibition opportunities, both nationally and internationally.

Prototype Shadow Box, Hiroshima Day 2012
Prototype Shadow Box, Hiroshima Day 2012

Rewards: Catalogue & Poster

A trifold exhibition catalogue will contain photographs of Shadow Box photograms and an essay by David Abel, and an accompanying poster will feature images from our related project, Water Shadows, and poems written for the project by Standard Schaefer and David Abel. 

Water Shadow (Columbia River)
Water Shadow (Columbia River)

These photograms were created by submerging photographic paper at night directly in Pacific Northwest waters (the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean) and exposing them to a flash of light. They are part of a larger project, “Mapping the Shadows,” that will attempt to invoke such concerns as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, radioactive contamination at Hanford and Fukushima, climate change, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, water politics, and global economic justice.

Water Shadow (Oregon Coast)
Water Shadow (Oregon Coast)

Excerpt from "Particulates" by Standard Schaefer 

Excerpt from "Shadowbody" by David Abel 

Special thanks

  • WhiteBox at U of O for hosting the Shadow Box Public Photo Session
  • Oregon Nikkei Endowment
  • Oregon College of Art and Craft Photography Department
  • Regional Arts & Culture Council

Colin Bardon, Randal Groves, Tomas Valladares, Mark Rupert, Matt Kidder, Tommy Church & Scapelandia, Pacific Paper Tube, Inc., Standard & Paris Schaefer, Libby Cozza, Kelly Bryan, JC Schlechter, Don Kern, Howard Natham, Robert & Bill Schlegel, David Abel, 13 Hats, Brown Printing, Pushdot Studio, Leo Daedalus / fluxmotiv.

Risks and challenges

We don't foresee any major setbacks. The Shadow Box worked exceedingly well at the photo session on May 12 at The White Box. We've conservatively factored for a less than 25% success rate in producing the Shadows photograms, so we're confident that we'll have sufficient material to work with for the show. We think that our combined experience – and that of all our advisors, volunteers, and partners – assures a successful project.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Trifold exhibition catalogue beautifully designed by Leo Daedalus and featuring an essay by David Abel with images from the Shadow Box.

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    Catalogue + a poster (18" x 24") featuring water photograms from our related project "Mapping the Shadows" and poems by Standard Schaefer and David Abel.

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    Catalog + Poster + Portfolio w/ One 8x10” archival reproduction of a Shadow photogram (signed, limited edition)

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Catalog + Poster + Portfolio w/ Two 8x10” archival reproductions of Shadow photograms (signed, limited edition)

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Catalog + Poster + Portfolio w/ Suite of Two 11x17” archival reproductions of Shadow photograms (signed, limited edition)

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Funding period

- (30 days)