This activity is mainly a volunteer effort comprised of professional photographers and hair & makeup artist volunteers.
The goal is to go to disaster areas, where the wounds from the earthquake still run deep, and to help the victims change where they are emotionally and take a step toward the future by photographing their portraits. Also, we have affirmed through these activities that for people whose photographs were washed away, having new commemorative photographs by their side gives them a little momentum to live their lives positively.
So far, we have visited approximately 30 shelters/temporary housing sites and photographed a total of 1,000 families. (As of December 2011).
We have had these photographs carefully framed with the cooperation of elementary, junior high, and high school students from non-disaster areas and have returned these photographs to the victims with messages of support from the students.
Ten months have passed since the earthquake, but we believe that reconstruction support in the true sense is just beginning. For this reason, we would like to continue this project as a long-term activity. We will continue to take photographs at temporary housing sites every weekend to help Tohoku recover even a few of its smiles.
3.11 Portrait Project Activities
- We will take new photographs for those who lost photographs or albums during the earthquake and give them to the subjects after framing them. We are asking student volunteers to frame the photographs.
- We will offer support to help affected photo studios reopen for business.
- We will hold photo exhibits in future years and work to prevent this great earthquake from being forgotten.
- We will reaffirm and reevaluate the power of photography for a broad society.
- We will propose a structure that connects even more people through a website and comprehensive activities.
Significance of the Activities
- Subjects can reconfirm their bonds with family, peers, and their community by having new photographs on hand.
- Placing themselves in the unfamiliar situation of being photographed and having makeup applied will provide subjects with a good opportunity to reflect on themselves, their present, and their future. We also believe a therapeutic effect can be expected from this activity, leaving the subjects with a more positive feeling and able to face the future with a different mindset.
- By archiving the photographs and holding exhibits in future years, we can explore what is visible there (this is conjecture, but perhaps spirituality or national traits) and pass this information on to later generations.
- Students from non-disaster areas will look at photographs of earthquake victims as they frame them and write messages of support, giving them a strong sense of involvement. Personal bonds will also develop because the secretariat will bring together the students and the victims. Therefore, we can expect long-term support.