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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

In pictures: photographer to help tsunami recovery through print project

US photographer and director Aaron Hobson is selling a series of dramatic images of the tsunami-damaged northern Japanese coastline to raise funds for the recovery.

'Sweeping Man'
'Sweeping Man'

A US DIRECTOR and photographer was so moved by images of Japan’s tsunami-ravaged coastline captured by Google Street View that he has launched a fundraising project to enable him to travel there and participate first-hand in the clean-up operation.

Aaron Hobson, of the Cinemascapes project of some of the world’s most isolated places as seen by Good Street View, says he was deeply moved by the search engine’s project to photograph the north-eastern area of Japan most affected by last year’s tsunami.

“I’ve seen the photos and the videos from the disaster and was obviously moved by them, but it wasn’t until I could see them at ground level and move street to street and town to town over an area covering hundreds of miles that I began to fully grasp the shear size of the devastation,” he told

“It felt almost post-apocalyptic. It was very moving to see entire villages and small cities completely washed away with only the footprints of foundations left behind.”

After searching for various organisations who are providing assistance to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, Hobson came across the group It’s Not Just Mud, a disaster relief organisation which is based in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture.

The group supports and organises volunteers to assist the recovery of individuals and small businesses who have been affected by the March 2011 disaster.

Hobson has never been to Japan before, though has heard and seen things about it from his parents who visited the country in the years after his father was stationed in Okinawa as a military photographer during the Vietnam War.

He says he is planning to spent between seven and ten days towards the end of this winter or early spring 2013 to help with the post-tsunami clean-up:

It’s not a long time and the work I will complete is hardly a speck of what is needed, but if I can help one family by making life just a little bit easier it will be worth it for me. I hope to take photos during my free time in Tohoku and quite possibly have an annual fundraising sale to return annually.

Hobson aims to raise the funds to cover the $2,500-$3,500 travel costs for the journey from New York to Tohoku, Japan and any remaining monies raised will be donated to It’s Not Just Mud.

To raise funds, he is selling a series of limited edition prints of Japan’s damaged coastline which cost $25 per image and can be delivered worldwide. The photographs are similar to his Cinemascapes project in that the images were captured by Google Street View and then processed by Hobson.

“I hope that anyone that purchases a print would follow my Facebook photography site to look for photos and more after the project begins,” he said. “They can see what I am doing on their behalf and also see the people that they have helped in the process.”

In pictures: photographer to help tsunami recovery through print project
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