Of the more than one hundred 35mm negatives taken by Yosuke Yamahata on August 10, 1945, only seventy originals were known to have survived when we began our project. Six additional original negatives were then located at the Japan Photographers Society by Emiko Amagawa, a producer at NHK-Television, Tokyo.

Another thirty images have been preserved in the form of copy negatives and glass plates produced by G.T. Sun Company, the family's former photography business in Tokyo. We were also able to identify thirteen printed images for which we could find no negatives. These additions established an overall total for the collection of one hundred and nineteen known exposures.

Many of the negatives, both originals and copies, evidence some degree of damage caused by light leaks, scratches, dust marks, emulsion flaking, and fogging, the latter possibly the result of exposure to radiation.

In consultation with Mr. Yamahata's son, Shogo Yamahata, we made the decision to restore the photographs as we believe his father would have visualized them through his viewfinder at the moment they were taken. To achieve this, digital restoration was undertaken by TX Unlimited, San Francisco. It was agreed that no details would be re-created where damage made their reconstruction reliant on conjecture.

After printing contact sheets for the existing 35mm negatives, we then discovered that several of Mr. Yamahata's sequential exposures formed panoramic views of the destruction. The task of combining individual frames into new composite negatives was also completed at TX Unlimited. We would like to think that these panoramic views are presented here for the first time as Mr. Yamahata originally intended.

We are indebted to Matt Keefe, president of TX Unlimited, and Jill Qualls, production manager, who worked with Jeff Raby and Alson Tom to produce an outstanding set of restored negatives. TX Unlimited can be reached at 415-905-0990. FAX: 415-495-4105. e-mail: TXunlmtd@aol.com.




The MEMORY Exhibition