The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


The funny thing about this earthquake and tsunami is that it is turning out to be both the best and the worst of times for me. The worst needs no explaining; I really wish it had never happened. The best part does need some context however.

Being in Iwate certainly was not good, it was a hard and deeply upsetting experience and I bent the ears of good friends on my first night there just to throw-off the feelings of voyeurism I had. Being a photographer does allow me to go to places and meet people that would not be possible without a camera to invite me there and though it is not always comfortable; and even it is not always right to be there, I want to do it because I believe it can be a positive thing if I done properly. I am very proud to have met the amazing people of Iwate and it has forever changed my perceptions and opinions on the Japanese. That is what I hope to show with my images: I hope that a picture I take in a businesslike way says something more than business about the subject in it.

But I am a photographer and as such, though the subject of the tsunami is not one to take pride or profit in easily, this event has proved surprisingly good on both for me this month. The images above is the front cover of Eurobiz magazine, a fact of which I am happy, and not a little proud yet even though this image and the others images of the tsunami they used in the magazine, along with the fantastic work by Rob Gilhooly, do tell people something of the situation up there, the feelings I have from my time in the north are stronger still. It is shockingly bad there, unbelievable in a way that few photographers can ever interpret with anything resembling poignancy as my good friend Gianni Giosue has done here.

The image above for example was taken during a paying job; a parachute job, and though I like it and think it is a good enough shot it does not have the right emotions for me that this tragic event deserves; the emotions which are all to easy to lose when photographing for work.

So I really want to go back to give myself a chance to look with a more gentle eye on the stories there and tell you about them. I wonder if that is right thing to do however.




One response

  1. Andy

    It’s a great shot and does cover the right emotions. I liked the way it was cropped for the mag cover as well. It hits the mark and that’s why it was used. Another fine effort and I doubt you’d be anything other than professional in the way you approach these stories which is why you get the great photos

    April 7, 2011 at 6:42 am

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