While her initial interests were focused on the female form and emotions, Fukushima’s nuclear disaster profoundly influenced Uma Kinoshita’s work. Since the triple disaster hit the prefecture on March 11, 2011, Kinoshita has been focused on photographing big social issues. “In Silence and In Sorrow,” her third project on Fukushima, consists of photographs taken in evacuation zones in 2013 and 2014.

Some places are located on the coast, within several kilometers from the exploded nuclear power plant. Others are small mountainous villages. Although they are more than 40 km away from the nuclear power plant, the radioactive particles were carried by wind and impacted many areas in the region.

Printed on Japanese traditional hand-screened paper called “Kamikawasaki-washi” from Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, these images have a strong connection to the region they depict. The techniques involved in creating this paper have a history of over 1,000 years.

“I decided to use this special paper, for I expected that a certain kind of reaction might happen between the photographs of Fukushima and the paper of Fukushima. The results were more than I had expected. Every time I print, I get different results with a kind of improvisational nature. With this help, it seems as if the photographs are able to talk by themselves.”

With the passage of time, these zones are slowly but steadily falling into ruin. In these photographs, Kinoshita shows us the things and places once beloved, and now abandoned. The work is infused with the fragility of human existence and eschatological overtones, as a result of human arrogance of trying to control the nature, blindly believing in their technologies.

—Uma Kinoshita