In observance of the third anniverary of the Great Eastern Japan earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear disaster on 3/11, CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) is honored to bring the 3.11 Portrait Project to New York City for the first time. A selection of the photographs and accompanying installation, which have previously been exhibited in Canada, Finland and elsewhere, will remain on view from March 6 – April 30, 2014.
The 3.11 Portrait Project is a project supporting Great Eastern Japan Earthquake recovery with the participation of photographers from different fields, hair & makeup artists, models, and local NPOs. Some of the members went to Tohoku in early April 2011 to take news photos and to volunteer with different organizations. Staggered by the desolation they found, some of them realized that they wanted, needed to do something, for themselves and for the residents of Tohoku, more positive and healing than simply documenting the destruction and loss.
Finding that so many families had lost all of their photos of their loved ones, photographer Nobuyuki Kobayashi and his colleagues realized they could work together with hair and makeup artists to take new portraits of the survivors. The portraits are then sent to Japanese schoolchildren in non-disaster regions, who frame the portraits and send them back to the survivors along with personal messages of support.
The damage left in the wake of this unprecedented earthquake far exceeds anything that we imagined. It is impossible to imagine the physical and mental pain of the victims. In light of people’s difficulty facing harsh realities, taking portraits in this situation is not an easy thing. But people must move past difficulty to go forward. We thought that rather than shutting away the feelings they had after the earthquake and the deep sadness that they couldn’t put into words, releasing these feelings would give them a foothold to tomorrow and to recovery. As photographers, we believe our mission is to support each of the victim’s next steps by taking their portraits.
— 3.11 Portrait Project Executive Committee