Photographer Captures Fukushima Years After Nuclear Meltdown

Rebecca Bathory
Rebecca Bathory

In March 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to the meltdown of a nuclear power plant near the Japanese city of Fukushima. The devastating incident received a level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (a score so high that it had only previously been given to one other event: The Chernobyl incident in 1986). An exclusion zone was drawn, forcing roughly 170,000 citizens to leave their homes and possessions behind. For years, the area sat trapped in time, with rotting food still sitting on restaurant tables.

Finally, in 2016 some select visitors were granted permits to visit restricted zones. One of those people was the dark tourism photographer Rebecca Bathory. Known for her book Soviet Ghosts, Bathory is again documenting uninhabited spaces that have fallen into decay. "The experience here was so much more emotional [than Soviet Ghosts]," she told Mental Floss in an email.


Coinciding with the cherry blossom season, Bathory attempted to capture the site of the horrible tragedy with a touch of optimism. "I wanted to capture how a moment of time, a moment from which hopefully these towns will continue to be cleaned up and rebuilt and one day residents will return to their homes and rebuild their towns, very much in the same way Hiroshima has become a thriving city again," she explains in her book.

Bathory spent five days exploring the area and capturing the unsettling landscape. Strangely, amongst all the decay, some buildings still had electricity; one bookstore even has a running computer.

"Even through disaster nature will replenish the land and those that died will be remembered and honoured," she writes. "It is particularly important for me to capture in photographs Fukushima as it currently exists, not only for historical records, but to inform people about this tragedy so it is remembered. As the memory fades and those terrible images of that day no longer flood the media, it can be so easy for us to forget."

You can check out all the pictures in Bathory's new book Fukushima: Return To, which comes out May 20.













The Rise of David Bowie Is a Photographic Deep Dive Into the Musician's Ziggy Stardust Days

This new book examines Bowie's life on and off stage.
This new book examines Bowie's life on and off stage.
TASCHEN

David Bowie will always be remembered as more than a singer. The larger-than-life performer was also an artist, an actor, and even launched his own short-lived internet service provider in the late '90s. But, arguably, his most memorable period was during the early '70s, when he burst onto the scene as the garishly costumed Ziggy Stardust, cementing his place in history as a performer who defied just about every norm imaginable. Now you can get an intimate look at this pivotal moment in his career with the new book from TASCHEN, The Rise of David Bowie ($40).

A new book about David Bowie
Mick Rock spent a year as Bowie's photographer and videographer.
TASCHEN

The images found in this 300-page book are by Mick Rock, a photographer known as "the man who shot the seventies." His career took off alongside Bowie's, and between 1972 and 1973, Rock was the musician's go-to photographer and videographer. Inside the book, you’ll find photographs of Bowie both on stage and behind the scenes, giving fans an up-close look at the transformative performer's life on the road as he honed his daring new persona for the Ziggy Stardust world tour.

Rock compiled the photos back in 2015, after he received the late singer’s blessing to do so. Currently, the book is available for pre-order and it’s set to ship by the end of March if you order from TASCHEN. For those heading to Amazon to pre-order, books will ship around April 21.

Did you know Bowie was an avid reader who often finished a book a day? While you wait for your copy to arrive, check out the performer's 100 favorite books, which include titles like Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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Rare, Early Portraits of Jim Morrison and The Doors Are Headed to Auction

Jim Morrison of The Doors photographed in 1968.
Jim Morrison of The Doors photographed in 1968.
Michael Montfort, Swann Auction Galleries

The Doors left a bluesy mark on rock ’n’ roll music that lasted long after the tragic death of frontman Jim Morrison at age 27. But because the band only existed for about six years—in a pre-smartphone era, no less—there isn’t a ton of behind-the-scenes content to tell the story of Morrison’s bright, albeit brief, career.

Come February 25, nine rare photos of Morrison from The Doors’ first European tour in 1968 will end up in the hands of one fortunate fan. Swann Auction Galleries is selling them as part of their “Classic and Contemporary Photographs” auction, which also includes portraits of early Hollywood stars like Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, and Veronica Lake.

The black and white photographs of Morrison were taken by German-born photojournalist Michael Montfort when the band performed in Frankfurt, Germany that September, and they manage to capture the strangely hazy, somewhat intense nature of the legendary lead singer. In one, Morrison looks right into the camera while leaning against a church pulpit; in another, he lies on the stage clutching the microphone with his back turned to the audience; in yet another, a sweat-drenched Morrison holds a leather jacket in one hand and makes a peace sign with the other.

jim morrison of the doors lying onstage
The Doors' Jim Morrison takes a break onstage during a Frankfurt concert in September 1968.
Michael Montfort, Swann Auction Galleries

The Doors played early hits like “Light My Fire” and “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” to raucous, devoted crowds across Europe, but the tour wasn’t without its calamities, due largely to Morrison’s substance abuse. After leaving Frankfurt, the band stopped to perform a show in Amsterdam, where a drug-addled Morrison collapsed on stage during Jefferson Airplane’s opening set. He was immediately taken to a hospital, and keyboard player Ray Manzarek stepped in as lead singer that night. Morrison finished the tour, but his drug addiction would continue to plague him until he died of a (suspected) overdose in Paris in 1971.

jim morrison the doors backstage photo
A messy-haired Morrison flashes a peace sign in 1968.
Michael Montfort, Swann Auction Galleries

The collection of nine photos is expected to fetch between $1500 and $2500, and you can place a bid here.

[h/t Swann Auction Galleries]

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