Former residents of Fukushima return to the ghost town in this emotional series of photographs!

Five years on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, two french photographers have asked some of the 80,000 nuclear refugees to return to the places they once knew.

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The series of photographs, entitled ‘Retracing Our Steps’ sees the subjects returning to the places they lived, worked and shopped in a surreal set of images.
Most of the places these photos were taken are in a ‘no-go’ zone and it’s taken almost four years for Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bression to be able to do the shoot.
Talking about the ‘Retracing Our Steps’ series, the artists said:

“We asked former residents or inhabitants from the Fukushima region, and in some cases, the actual owners of certain properties, to join us inside the no-go zone and open the doors to these ordinary, but now unfriendly, places.”

“Facing the camera, they were asked to act as normally as possible – as if nothing had happened. The idea behind these almost surreal photographs was to combine the banal and the unusual…”

“Midori Ito is in an abandoned supermarket in Namie. Here, nothing has changed since the disaster. On a panel, you can even read the words “Fresh produce” in Japanese.


“Rieko Matsumotoest is in a laundry Namie. She is a nutritionist and counselor. “The day of the earthquake, I was working with a Philippine client who was there for his first time. I was ready to measure parts of her body, and she was about to take off her clothes when the ground started shaking. She spoke to me in Japanese up until that very moment, but when it hit, she suddenly started shouting in English.””


“Kanoko Sato is in a gymnasium of a school in the Ukedo district, destroyed by the tsunami and left like this since the disaster. “If it was not for this project, I would never have seen this forbidden zone with my own eyes. Even though I live in Koriyama and that is close enough, I did not know how badly this place was devastated until today “”

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