In “Echoing into the Cliffs,” Japanese photographer Chizuko Nakamura follows the village of Tanohata in Iwate Prefecture. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the people in the area have for centuries been familiar with nature both as a source of beauty and life and as a force beyond humanity.
In the 1980s, plans to build a nuclear power plant near the village had been thwarted by the village’s women who campaigned against the construction, no matter how much money they may receive. On March 11, 2011, much of the village was damaged or outright destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami.
Nakamura’s photographs capture the duality of the local nature, document the ongoing reconstruction progress, and celebrate the efforts of the villagers to rebuild their lives. Through traditional festivals and folk performing arts such as the local deer dance, they demonstrate their awareness of nature’s force and keep their culture alive, despite it all.
“The hundreds-of-millions-year-old strata are exposed and standing tall. It seems as if every day, we are being demonstrated the history of the earth’s formation—we are confronted with the fact that humans are only a tiny part of the universe. Where does life come from, what keeps us alive, and where do we return to?”
― from Chizuko Nakamura’s afterword (all texts in Japanese & English)