AIDS Quilt

December 1st, 2021

..August 1996.. ..Washington, DC.. The AIDS Quilt when it was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC. It was unbelievably sad to see how massive it was. Each quilt was made for a person who has passed away from AIDS. The quilt was laid from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. A large amount of space.  The names and the ages on the quilts spanned all demographics and ages; male, female, young, elderly, middle age, children, husbands, wives, lovers, partners, friends, artists, business people, a few famous people and mostly ordinary people who were loved by someone, etc…I remember wanting to find the quilt made for Freddie Mercury but as soon as I saw the landscape I realized that it’s entirety was more important than finding just one in a sea of millions. 

The AIDS Quilt is the largest piece of community art ever shown. I’m not sure if it’s been displayed since I saw it in 1996. But the enormous size of the project demonstrates how serious a problem AIDS/HIV still is.  I wish the quilt would still be exhibited every year so we don’t have the excuse of saying AIDS/HIV was a problem for  a brief moment of time affecting only one or two types of people.  It’s easy to believe stereotypes when you’re wearing blinders. 

Today is World AIDS Day and there is barely a mention of AIDS. AIDS still ends too many lives. I don’t want to forget those who have been affected.

Fridays For Future

November 5th, 2021

…Berlin… …Fridays for Future…

From Above at Gallery ef

November 4th, 2021

..September 2021… …Tokyo…

From Above at Gallery ef. From Above, consists of portraits and reminiscences of atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and WWII firebombing survivors from Dresden, Coventry, Tokyo, Wielun and  Rotterdam.

Atomic Bomb Dome, 11:42pm

August 6th, 2021

Koichi Wada

July 8th, 2021

“It worries me to think that the passage of months and years tends to cloud memories and that the grave reality of the atomic bombings will eventually fade into the background.”
-Koichi Wada, Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor

長い年月を経るに従い人々の記憶もおぼろになり、被爆という重大な事実が風化され、忘れさられるのではないだろうか。
和田 耕一

I received the sad news that Koichi Wada passed away at the age of 94.

I photographed other hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) during my initial trips to Nagasaki who knew Wada-san but I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph him until 2016.  Our paths never crossed until Ayumi-san asked him about being photographed. 

At the time he had already lost many of his memories to dementia.  But during our conversation there were brief moments where he would remember something about his experience on August 9th, 1945.  Even though his memories were impeded by dementia I hope that his message to abolish nuclear weapons comes through in his portrait.  

Setsuko Thurlow

July 7th, 2021

Today is the 4th anniversary of the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).   On January 22nd (TPNW) it was enacted as international law.  Before this treaty nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not banned by international law. 

Mrs. Setsuko Thurlow fought her entire life to see this treaty become reality.  I began photographing Mrs. Thurlow in 2011. From the moment we met her determination to fight for the abolition of nuclear weapons was evident.  She was 13 years old when the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima. 

 “When I sit down to write down my recollections of that time, I have to brace myself to confront my memories of Hiroshima.

It is exceedingly painful to do this because I become overwhelmed by my memories of grotesque and massive destruction and death.” -Setsuko Thurlow

Everyday I think about the survivors I met in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Most have passed but their memory lives on when the treaty banning nuclear weapons arrives.


Mrs. Thurlow’s portrait is part of my project, From Above, which is a collection portraits and reminiscences of atomic bomb survivors and fire bombing survivors from the Second World War.  It will be exhibited at Gallery ef in Tokyo on September 1st-12th. 

Westerbork Camp

May 6th, 2021

…Morning light through the forest, Westerbork Camp, Assen…..

Westerbork was used as a transit camp by the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands. Over 100,000 Jews and 245 Sinti and Roma were sent from Westerbork Camp to the death camps in Auschwitz and Sobibor. Only 5,000 returned after the war.

Emiko Okada

April 11th, 2021

“We can only build peace through speaking to each other.
The color of our skin or nationality does not matter.”
-Emiko Okada

肌の色が違おうと、国が違おうと、
出会いを大事にしたいんです。
人と人で対話をして、平和を作っていきたいのです。

I received the sad news that Mrs. Emiko Okada passed away on April 9th.  I photographed Mrs. Okada in Hiroshima during 2010.  She experienced the atomic bomb when she was eight years old, at her home 2.8km from the hypocenter.  She devoted her life traveling the world to promote peace and the importance of nuclear disarmament. 

Although Mrs. Okada endured living a difficult life, she never spoke begrudgingly.  She describes herself as a “mouthpiece” for the departed.  

“My sister was 12 years old. She went out and never came back.”  Mrs. Okada’s elder sister has been missing since August 6th, 1945.  Mrs. Emiko’s daughter has struggled against an incurable disease that decreases the number of blood platelets, most likely caused by the radiation that Mrs. Okada was exposed to.  

I haven’t met many other individuals so devoted to teaching young people about peace and reconciliation. Mrs. Okada was 84 years old.

Mrs. Okada’s portrait a part of my From Above project which featured portraits of atomic bomb and firebombing survivors from WWII. My limited edition book is available at https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=I1040&i=&i2=

…Stonewall Protests…

April 10th, 2021

…8:11pm… …Stonewall Protests…

Matashichi Oishi

March 30th, 2021

I received the sad news that Mr. Matashichi Oishi passed away on March 7th.  Mr. Oishi was a former crew member of the Daigo Fukuryu-Maru (Lucky Dragon 5), tuna fishing boat that was exposed to radiation by an unannounced secret hydrogen bomb nuclear test at the Bikini Atoll on March 1st, 1954.  They were fishing 160km away from the hypocenter.  The bomb was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated in Hiroshima. It contained 270 different kinds of radioactive materials.

Mr. Oishi saw a strong flash of light. An orange color soaked the sky. After 7 minutes they heard horrific rumbling. Strangely, the sea surface stayed calm. Frightened, they decided to return home.  Soon after “ashes of death”(nuclear fallout) started falling, covering the boat like snow. They had no idea what it was, some licked the flakes. The flakes of ash didn’t melt, felt like sand and burned their skin. They removed the fishing nets and long fishing lines while the radioactive ashes fell.

After a 2 week journey, they arrived at Yaizu harbor. All of them already began to suffer from acute radiation diseases such as dizziness, loss of appetite, gum bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, and hair loss. But they still didn’t know what they were exposed to.

A newspaper released the news about the nuclear test. It caused a panic in Japan. “Poisoned fishermen brought back poisoned tuna.” Even rain contaminated with radioactivity fell over Japan and other countries in the Pacific Ocean.

The panic created an anti-nuclear movement and encouraged Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb Survivors to speak about their experiences. Nearly 10 years after the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this was the first public discussion about nuclear weapons in Japan.
During the American Occupation, news about the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was censored. The American government allowed no public discussion or newspaper articles in Japan to be written about the bombings.  Because of the censorship the Japanese public, outside of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were largely unaware about the effects of radioactivity.


The Lucky Dragon 5 event was covered up in negotiations between the US and Japanese governments. The boat was painted over and dumped in a landfill in Tokyo. The ill fishermen were abandoned and outcast socially. Their lives changed completely. They didn’t have visible burn or scar but inside their bodies were radioactively contaminated. All battled various types of cancers throughout their lives. The first member of the crew died a half year later. More than half of the crew has died. All of them died from liver cancer.


Mr. Oishi suffered from varied aftereffects; including liver cancer and social discrimination. The company and government have claimed no responsibility for his health care bills even though he was exposed while working.


After 30 years of silence, he started to speak about his experiences. He is one of only two voices out of 23 Lucky Dragon crew members to speak. 856 boats, containing 17,000 Japanese fishermen, were present in the marine area the day of the nuclear test at Bikini Atoll. None of the others have chosen to speak or release their medical records.

Mr. Oishi was photographed at the location where the Lucky Dragon 5 was found. The discarded boat was discovered in 1967. The boat has since been persevered and a museum has been built around it.
It was an honor to photograph Mr. Oishi.  I will always admire his bravery for speaking the truth.  He’ll always be my friend.