Onagawa Madams

    The portraits are of women in the sixties through nineties who live in temporary housings in Onagawa. We organized a "make-up classroom" for the women who suffered from various casualties like loosing a house or a family. We hoped to deliver a happy moment as much as possible for them and had them put on make up to lift up their hearts. I thought up a plan to take commemorative photos of the ladies.

   The day was set exactly one year after the earthquake. It was the time when most of the women had forgotten about putting a make up and gaily dressed. There were several women who lost photos of memories from the tsunami and some wanted to leave the picture as a proof of life, strongly suggesting a portrait of deceased person. I arranged the small meeting room with strobe light and background paper, and set up a standard lighting so that I can capture their natural expression.

    The ladies were full of smile seeing natural portraits of their own. As I handed a print made in jiffy, the ladies were sharing it among themselves and laughed out gaily like schoolgirls. I felt a revelation at that moment that photograph have the power to make people happy.

 

 I was able to please the ladies with the makeshift studio just as same as my father had done in the photo studio, and felt as though I had succeeded his will.

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