Czech photog’s exhibit keeps alive disaster memory, aids orphan pair


An exhibition of photos taken in the disaster-hit Tohoku region by a Czech photographer is being held in Tokyo with an aim of helping maintain awareness of the disaster while donations will be used to help two teens orphaned by the quake and tsunami.

The photos shot by Martin Hladik, 43, will be displayed through Sept. 2 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan and can be purchased for donations to support two teenage sisters who were orphaned in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, by the March 11 calamity.

The sisters — Manaka and Sakaki Yoshida — lost their single mother and grandmother who were living with them. The girls have moved in with an aunt, who looks after them, Hladik said.

The donations will be used to cover their living and educational expenses, he said.

“If you see people suffer, it seems that just taking pictures is not enough,” Hladik said.

“The main point of this exhibition is to raise awareness about Tohoku,” he said. “Within the first month, we experienced a huge drop of interest about this earthquake among Japanese and foreign media, as well.”

He added he hopes to help other kids in need if the project, sponsored by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., grows.

Hladik, who runs a photo agency in Tokyo selling images from Japan to foreign magazines and commercial buyers, has visited the disaster-hit areas often.

“There was a huge market for my images” taken in Tohoku soon after the disaster, but foreign media lost interest in the pictures shot one month later, Hladik said.