The project has reached it's funding limit which is fantastic news, a huge thanks to everyone who has pledged so far. It's almost exactly a year since I booked my flight tickets to Japan and it's amazing to know that the book will now definitely be printed.
There are still copies available from this 1st edition run so please do still consider pledging if not done so already.
The Great East Japan Earthquake &Tsunami of March 11th 2011 occurred one year after I'd spent three months travelling and photographing in rural Japan. It had been an incredible experience, I found friendship, wisdom, places of great beauty and people with an energy and passion that often belied their age.
At the time I intended this to be the start of a long term project to document the rural way of life in Japan, little did I expect that such a terrible disaster would unfold so soon after. I hadn't visited Tohoku on these travels and felt some relief that no-one I knew had been caught up in the disaster but seeing the images that emerged in the following days and weeks I couldn't escape the fact that many of the devastated villages and towns shared much with the places I had visited.
The Tsunami aftermath was documented in great detail by the world’s media and I knew the anniversary would also bring Japan temporarily back into the headlines. With debris being cleared at a remarkable rate, post-disaster stories often celebrated how much things had improved but I wanted to find out to what extent people's lives were still affected and how reconstruction and recovery were progressing. It was these questions and an urge to talk to people and see the reality on the ground, that led me to spend three weeks this March in Tohoku.
'Broken Things' こわれたもの The Book
With your help I would like to self-publish a book of photographs from this remarkable trip, with the money raised allowing me to print a limited run of 500 copies of 'Broken Things'.
The series of images were taken in Iwate and Miyagi, two prefectures with 300km of coastline inundated by the Tsunami resulting in widespread devastation. My hope is that 'Broken Things' will convey some understanding of the atmosphere and situation on the ground as well as pause for thought, raising awareness of the ongoing issues around the recovery process.
The title 'Broken Things' is a reference to both physical and emotional damage. They are the words that a retired English teacher used to translate the Japanese phrase 'gare-ki' as he pointed to yet another huge pile of debris. He was driving me around Noda-mura in Northern Iwate on my first full day in Tohoku and these two words stuck with me for the rest of my travels. There was a real resonance to them, everywhere you look there are physical traces of the Tsunami, broken and twisted material or their inverse the empty spaces. What struck me though was a more hopeful interpretation that what is now broken can and must be fixed.
The trip began a week before the anniversary, a time of year that in Tohoku can seem more like winter. As days went by many followed a similar path, over coffee or tea I listened to people's stories of March 11th, their lives before and since and hopes for the future. Often we'd then head off driving or walking and I photographed the places they felt it was important to show me. I'd like to think that in some small way 'Broken Things', will be a testament to the energy and strength of the people of Tohoku.
Printing 'Broken Things'
I’m working on this project with the award winning printers Optimal Media, based in Germany they regularly work with top Photography publishers such as Mack, Thomas & Hudson and Phaidon. It will be a book of simplicity, craft and subtle beauty featuring 50 colour photographs litho printed in a wide A5 format.
Impeccably laid out and designed by my friend, designer Stewart Armstrong. We are working on titles and forms that are crafted from the coastline of places I visited in Tohoku and the book will be wrapped in a simple leaf of traditional Washi paper hand made in Tottori, Japan. The book will feature bilingual English/Japanese text.
If I can realise my funding objective of £2000 then I will hold a book launch in late November/early December where you can pick up your copy of the book. For anyone not able to attend I will post your copy as soon as possible.
Many thanks for your time and I hope to share 'Broken Things' with you before the end of the year.
Risks and challenges
The photographs are taken, designer on board and after many hours of drinking tea I have settled on the final image edit. We're currently working on finalising the layout and cover design, it's an exciting time in the process and I will be sharing updates with everyone in the next two weeks but I have complete faith that it'll look great.
Posting prints and books can be risky and as such I will offer a guarantee that if yours arrive in less than perfect condition a replacement will be sent out immediately.
Books will be posted 1st class in a padded jiffy bag, prints will make their way to you rolled up in a suitable poster tube, although I'm also happy to discuss framing options with you if required.
The books and prints will arrive late November this year and I fully expect to send these out 1st week of December, if anything comes up to delay this you'll be the first to know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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