The spectacular landscapes left by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami have been used as source material by photographers to an extraordinary degree. Yes, using the words "spectacular" and "landscape" here may seem indecent, but this is one of many difficult issues that arise when photography and human suffering meet. Another problem is that "good" work, however you want to define it, may have resulted from questionable motives, and vice versa.

One thing's for sure, in contrast to the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, where only a handful of photographers created work that was intended for a gallery environment, the devastation from this more recent and more deadly event has been documented and worked on by many more people in a greater variety of ways.

Two exhibitions commemorating 3/11, one at the Meguro Museum of Art in Tokyo, and another at the Japan Society in New York, take different approaches to photography and disaster. The museum in Meguro is temporarily hosting "Documentary of the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and History of Tsunami Disaster," which is normally a permanent exhibit at the Rias Ark Museum in Miyage Prefecture. This museum is run jointly by Kesennuma and Minami Sanrikucho, two of the areas hit hardest five years ago.