About this artwork
One of the key figures in Japanese postwar photography, Shomei Tomatsu made photographs that addressed the dominant issues shaping the country’s identity: the destruction of the atomic bomb, the subsequent rebuilding of Japan into a modern society, and the ongoing American military and cultural presence. This photograph was taken in Nagoya in the aftermath of the 1959 Ise Bay typhoon, one of the most devastating in Japanese history. It does not directly address the 5,000 casualties or the families left homeless by the disaster; instead, it depicts a boot, a traditional sandal, and a modern ladies’ pump rising up from the black sludge, suggesting the Japanese islands or a population adrift. The sturdy boot alone, most likely manufactured in the United States, emerges tenaciously from the muck and appears most capable of moving on after the disaster.
Currently Off View
- Shomei Tomatsu
- Untitled (Nagoya)
- Made 1955
- Gelatin silver print, from the series "Floods and Japanese"
- 23.2 × 23.2 cm (image); 36 × 34.2 cm (mount)
- Photography Gala Fund