Lost & Found: Snapshots Salvaged After the Japanese Tsunami

The Lost & Found Project is a volunteer effort that recovered three quarters of a million lost photographs after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Each of the snapshots was washed, digitized, and numbered, and twenty thousand of them have since been reunited with their owners. Project head Munemasa Takahashi states,

After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs. Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that.

The photographs that are still orphaned are currently being displayed in exhibitions around the world, and proceeds from poster sales are donated to shelters in Japan and used to buy classroom materials for damaged schools. Here’s what past exhibitions have looked like:

Visit the Lost & Found website to find out about upcoming exhibitions.

Lost & Found Project (via The New Yorker via Photojojo)

  • Charlotte Fairchild

    This happens after storms in the US too. Within the week of the Tsunami, I went to The High Museum in Atlanta and 7 bus loads of teenagers were too loud in a large gallery. So I sang Puccini. People came up to me and asked me to sing several times and so I sang The Cherry Blossom Song in Japanese quietly, telling people to think kindly of Japan.

  • Andrew Bowness

    I remember in the aftermath that news reporters kept picking up photos from debris and it’s always something that people say they will miss, so this project really is a lovely idea.