Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945


I saw this show at ICP and didn’t like a lot about the show itself — mostly the hanging and exhibition design — but I think the photographs and their story are fascinating, and have incredible potential for further study.

Blurb on the show from nytimes magazine:

Two months after an atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey commissioned by President Harry S. Truman began to study the extensive structural damage done to the city, from the reinforced-concrete buildings at its center to the traditional wooden ones on its outskirts. Truman’s goal was to collect information that would help U.S. architects and civil engineers design structures able to withstand a nuclear attack. The secretive report included 700 images of Hiroshima. Robert L. Corsbie, executive officer of the Physical Damage Division, which conducted the survey, kept the prints until his death, in 1967; their odyssey afterward included being rescued by a neighbor from the curb after being put out with the trash, eventually ending up at the International Center of Photography in New York in 2006. On May 20, the center is opening a three-month exhibition of the work. The government’s caption to slide No. 4 (above) refers to ‘‘air zero,’’ the site of the blast, and says, ‘‘Shows partly burned coat of boy who was in open near City Hall (Building 28) 3,800 feet from AZ.’’

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4 Responses to Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945

  1. Philip Zimmermann says:

    Kate, this reminds me of that amazing photobook about Hiroshima by Kikuji Kawada called The Map. It was originally published in Japan in the 60s but republished by Nazraeli in 2005 and has a series of gate folds. A very moving book. Phil Z.

  2. Thanks, Phil. I’ve read about this book but never seen it — I appreciate the nudge!

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