Funakoshi: 95% of this fishing community was destroyed by the tsunami. All Images © Michel Huneault/Cosmos/Polaris.
An earthquake in the Tōhoku region of Japan triggered a tsunami that devastated the Pacific coastal area and resulted in nuclear disaster two days later, on March 11, 2011. This tragedy resulted in 15,880 deaths, 6,135 injuries, 2,694 missing persons, and hundreds of thousands of buildings damaged or completely destroyed.
Photographer Michel Huneault, who lives in Montreal, went to Tōhoku 13 months after the catastrophic event, splitting his time between documenting and volunteering. The result is a multilayered project that documents more than 155 miles of coastline, from Fukushima to Kesennuma, over a period of three months in late spring 2012. Huneault’s series mixes photographs, composite panoramas, HD videos and sound captures. “I want the viewer to experience in multiple ways the weight of emptiness and absence one must carry within the area. This is a necessary step to understand the larger impacts of this event.” To see more work from the series, visit Huneault’s website.
To see other photography series about Tōhoku, click here.
Kesennuma: Sand bags protect against new tide levels. Here, the land subsided 74 centimeters.
Ishinomaki: A statue damaged by the tsunami. The waves the reached over 16 feet high and the land subsided 78 centimeters.
Nagatsura: Mausoleum to the memory of the 70 fallen students at Okawa school, on the banks of the Kitakami river.
Hadenya: The foundation of a house destroyed by the tsunami.
Minamisoma, Odaka district: A collapsed building, due to the earthquake, remained untouched 14 months after the evacuation.
Ishinomaki: A man with his dog looks at the sea.