A suitcase was found eleven years ago by a man walking his dog in Watertown, Massachusetts. Contained within it were 700 photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima, depicting an obliterated city, of twisted girders, imploding buildings and miles of rubble. This was the original Ground Zero, a term first used to describe the epicentre of the blast.
Since then, accounts given by survivors have been published, documentaries produced and historians have debated heatedly about the decision to drop the bomb’s effect has helped us deny its devastating impact. Compared to the photographs of Auschwitz after it was liberated, from which a series of powerful images come to mind, all that has been left on the social conscience regarding Hiroshima is the mushroom cloud. Terrifying in its way, with its bulbous head and towering stem, it is nonetheless an abstract image freed from human agency and human consequence.
The discussion held at the International Centre for Photography in New York aims to systematically dissect how the ground-breaking images that make up the Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 exhibition at ICP were discovered and how the moving footage shot in post-bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki was censored by the U.S. government.
Panelists include Greg Mitchell, the author of Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made (2011) and co-author (with Robert Jay Lifton) ofHiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial (1995), Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barrett, and writer and freelance documentary film producer and director Adam Harrison Levy.
Where: ICP, 1133 Avenue of the Americas
When: Wednesday, August 17, 7:00pm.