Nagasaki, 11:02 – Land of the Second Sun

August 9th, 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Less famous than Hiroshima—unique as the world’s first atomic-bombed city—Nagasaki was second to Hiroshima in notoriety, but suffered the effects of a plutonium-fueled bomb which was nearly twice as powerful as Little Boy. Fat Man went critical at 11:02 a.m., missing its target (a Mitsubishi arms factory) by at least a kilometer. Exploding halfway between Shiroyama Elementary School and Urakami Cathedral, it burned brighter than its uranium predecessor. My photo-based project draws from my visits to Nagasaki in 2008 and 2013 and the archives and memoirs of two doctors at Omura Naval hospital who treated victims of the “special” bomb. Nagasaki, 11:02—Land of the Second Sun reveals a verdant landscape punctuated by signs, memorials and remains that speak of the day when a manufactured sun flashed upon the Christian valley of Urakami, scorching everything it illuminated within a two-kilometer radius. Using a work in progress as the departure point, this presentation raises questions about the ethics of representation while attempting to pay tribute to those who fell victim to what Truman termed “the greatest achievement of organized science in history.”.

Katy McCormick, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Documentary Media (MFA) program, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University. McCormick will discuss recent work on the Nagasaki atomic bombing involving atomic flash burn victims and landscape images in a poetic meditation that juxtaposes the white flash with the black burn.