Last night I went to see the Salisbury candle float organised by CND in memory of those who died during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was busier than I expected at the riverside, which was warming to see.
When I went to the Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition in London last year, I was really struck by the photographs that Japanese photographers had taken at the time of the bombing and afterwards. I left the exhibition thinking “What if this were to happen to me?” It was a frightening thought, particularly as I have young children. The exhibition had and continues to have a profound impact on how I see things both in terms of my life but also in terms of the importance and continuing relevance of photography.
The actual event was quite interesting. The older man looking at the boards in the sequence of images below was actually from Russia and he spoke very little English. Naturally enough, I spoke very little Russian so I had a fairly entertaining time explaining the event to him when he tried to ask me what was going on. In the end, in pidgin English, he said ‘Stalin, Putin’. I wasn’t entirely sure if he thought they were great leaders, or something else.
The paper crane that is in a candle holder in another image is a reference to the Sadako Sasaki story that if she folded a 1000 origami cranes she would be granted a wish. She was two years old when the bomb was dropped and sadly died when she was 12 years old. One version of the story held that she only managed to folder 644 cranes before dying, with her school friends completing the rest and burying them with her.
180,000 people died in the bombings.