'Lost and found': the memory salvage project of 3.11
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Taking 'The Memory Salvage Project' and associated exhibition of photographs, 'Lost and Found', as its focus, this essay explores the purpose and meaning of personal photographs salvaged from the debris of the Tohoku (or Great East Japan) earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. The essay discusses the photos' relationship to memory and to community. It also compares their capacity to affect the viewer with 'the usual' disaster photos that are replicated from one disaster to the next in a variety of news media. The essay considers how these very different photos (of people and places pre- rather than post- disaster) elicit a different response from the viewer.