Otsuchi Future Memories

Following the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan, the sheer scale of the tsunami that smashed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 – together with the nuclear disaster that came along with it – was unprecedented. Coastal communities were devastated by waves, which at their highest reached 40 meters above sea level, traveling up to 10 km inland.

The shing town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, was probably the most destroyed by the tsunami. There, roughly ten percent of the population was killed or went missing and sixty percent of residential buildings sustained damaged. The Mayor at the time and many municipal of cials were killed, leaving Otsuchi’s administrative functions paralyzed. In the midst of such chaos and disorder, people started to recover the family photographs they found in the debris of the city, trying to keep safe the memory of Otsuchi.

This project presents a visual documentation of destruction and loss by connecting portraits of the Otsuchi survivors with family photographs recovered from the waters, swept away by the tsunami. Color photographs and B&W colorized-images are presented together in this project. However, the importance of colors becomes crucial in this approach. The colors from the destroyed photographs – deformed and blurred images, altered by the effects of the salty water, sometimes creating new colors or mixing the former ones – are revalued on an exercise of color archeology and were used to colorize the B&W portraits I took of the survivors. Colors constitute a bridge that relates the past with the present, establishing a dialogue between them.

Otsuchi Future Memories intends a re ection on the dynamic relationship between family photographs and our memories when such tragedies happen. The tsunami caused considerable material damage, killing people and destroying entire communities, but above all, the survivors also face the intangible loss of their own memories and identities, in which family photographs play a fundamental role.

Otsuchi Future Memories Alejandro Chaskielberg


Otsuchi Future Memories by Alejandro Chaskielberg

Number of photo

13 Prints on dibond (two dimensions)
25 Prints on different paper sizes (around 20x15cm)




See technical rider

Frame size

See technical rider

Linear development

13mt minimum required linear space (Whithout little prints)

Set up

13 Images printed on dibond with slider system on back
25 Hooks on the back for frames (little images)
2 Panel: intro, bio (text in appendix), and title, must be printed at the expense of the hosting organization

Shipping crates:

1 box 106x30x86cm
1 box 50x43x33 cm

Download the datasheet