Eerie images inside Fukushima’s exclusion zone five years after the nuclear disaster

Malaysian-born Loong said: 'The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn't even pack or take anything valuable with them' 

Daily Mail UK:

More than five years after the devastating tsunami and the 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck north-eastern Japan, causing the explosion of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the Japanese town remains abandoned.

Since April 22, 2011, an area within 20km (12.4miles) radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant has been cordoned off from the public and listed as the red exclusion zone.

But now, Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong has entered into the exclusion zone to capture these eerie images.

Malaysian-born Loong said: ‘The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn’t even pack or take anything valuable with them

 Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima

Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima

There was also an empty DVD shop, full of discs dating back to 2011 - a reminder of the 150,000 people were forced to leave There was also an empty DVD shop, full of discs dating back to 2011 – a reminder of the 150,000 people were forced to leave.

Among the locations Loong explored during his time inside Fukushima, there was an empty supermarket full of merchandise dating back to 2011

The urban explorers wore masks as they entered abandoned houses, like this one in Futaba, that's untouched since the disaster in 2011
The urban explorers wore masks as they entered abandoned houses, like this one in Futaba, that’s untouched since the disaster in 2011

Clean laundry left half in washing machines show the panic that followed the disaster
 Clean laundry left half in washing machines show the panic that followed the disaster and there were plenty of valuables left untouched.
Loong explored various shops where valuables were left untouched

Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima – Tomioka, Okuma, Namie and Futaba – in June this year with friends Sherena Ng and Koji Hori.

They were evacuated after the disaster on March 11, 2011, when a 50ft wave swamped the sea wall at the nuclear power plant, sparking equipment failures and allowing radioactive materials to escape.

It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and the towns have been completely untouched by humanity since then.

Loong’s images give an eerie insight into the panic that followed the disaster and show a city stuck in time as calendars remain on the same date, families’ clean washing is partially-removed from dryers and newspapers forever remain unsold.

Malaysian-born Loong said: ‘The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn’t even pack or take anything valuable with them.

‘If you visit any boutique or shopping mall in these towns, you will see the merchandise exactly where it was since 2011, nothing has been changed or moved.’

For urban explorer Loong, the abandoned sites were most disturbing as traffic lights were still working but there were no cars on the roads
The city of Fukushima was evacuated suddenly after the east coast of Japan was devastated by a massive earthquake followed by a huge tsunami
The packaged goods left on the shelf

The urban explorers entered the so-called ‘red zone’ – the site of maximum radiation – in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by the police.

Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with shops full of merchandise, including newspapers and magazines, dating back to 2011

Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with shops full of merchandise, including newspapers and magazines, dating back to 2011

Loong added: ‘I even found money laying around the pachinko parlour, books dating back to 2011, gold and other valuables all still in place.

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air.

Loong explained: ‘The radiation level in the red zone could go as high as 4.8mSv – 6.5 mSv according to the reading on the electronic signboard on the road.

‘Upon arrival in the red zone, I could smell chemicals and felt a burning sensation in my eyes.’

The urban explorers entered the so-called ‘red zone’ – the site of maximum radiation – in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by the police.

He said: ‘Due to the high level of radiation, the town was filled with police so we had a limited amount of time to explore everything in all four towns. We entered the red exclusion zone in the dark around 1am, to avoid attention from the cops.’

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air 

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air.

Loong visited four towns - Tomioka, Okuma, Namie and Futaba - in June this year with friends Sherena Ng and Koji Hori 

Loong said: 'When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted'

Loong said: ‘When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted’

The urban explorers walked along an abandoned train station in Futaba, Fukushima, which was eerily devoid of life

The urban explorers walked along an abandoned train station in Futaba, Fukushima, which was eerily devoid of life. Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with outlets full of merchandise dating back to 2011 – a reminder of the 150,000 people that were forced to leave the area following the disaster.

He said: ‘When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted.

‘I always had a childhood dream of going into a mall alone when it is empty, so my dream came true, it was like deja vu, everything is exactly the way it is since 2011, the books marked with 2011, DVD movies of 2011.

‘This was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen, I have been to many places, but nothing like Fukushima, the traffic lights are still operating but there are no cars around.

‘It all reminded me of the movie I Am Legend, like stepping foot into a post-apocalyptic city.

Cinematic photographs of Tokyo at night by Masashi Wakui

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This Is Collossal (by Christopher Jobson):

Tokyo is an infinitely photogenic city. And there’s no shortage of photographers capturing its vibrant landscape. But local resident and photography aficionado Masashi Wakui has a unique, surreal style of capturing Tokyo by night and making it look like an animated still from Akira or a Ghibli film.

Wakui has a penchant for the backstreets of Tokyo, specifically those with plenty of lanterns, streetlights and neon signs that only add to the surreal, cinematic quality of the scene. And those who have spent any number of nights wandering these streets will find Wakui’s photos achingly captivating.

Once the scene is captured Wakui then digitally manipulates the image, giving it a color grading effect that works perfectly with his busy nighttime cityscapes. There are tutorials that have even sprouted up, analyzing the “Masashi Wakui Look,” as its been coined. Wakui himself even points to one, admitting it’s close but not perfect.

You can see many more of Wakui’s photos on Flickr, where he constantly posts new work. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

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South Korean rapper G-Dragon visits photographer Terry Richardson’s studio

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After visiting Terry Richardson’s studio in 2012,  South Korean rapper G-Dragon returns to team up with the controversial photographer once again.

In the candid images, the musician channels his boisterous personality for the snaps, wearing leather pants and an oversized muscle T-shirt. In the past, the rapper has worked with Giuseppe Zanotti to release an exclusive capsule collection and even DRx Romanelli, for a collaborative project along with YG Entertainment

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Photographer Takashi Yasui captures the mystique of Kyoto

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Japan is captured in spellbinding fashion by photographer Takashi Yasui in this photo series. Training his lens on well-known sights such as the Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizudera shrines, Arashiyama bamboo forest, and Gion geisha district of Kyoto, the founder of the RECO photography collective portrays them in new light and a heightened artistic sensitivity to the country’s undeniable mystique.

My name is Takashi Yasui, I’m 35 years old, and live in Osaka, Japan. Basically, I take photos in Kyoto so I call myself a “Kyoto Photographer.”  About five years ago, when my niece was born, I started taking family portraits; that’s how I got into photography.

About 4 years ago I installed “Instagram”on my iPhone and began to follow photographers from all over the world. This had a big impact on me: I met a lo of Instagrammers in Japan, leaned about photography, how to shoot, how to edit, how to find a location, composition, perspective, and things like that. Recently, I met few talented photographers from the US, Canada,  and France, and was exposed to their take on shooting. It really helped me to grow as a photographer. Now, photography is a more of a pleasure, it is a passion for me.

I’m shooting with Fujifilm X-T10, X-M1 with XF14mmF2.8 R, XF35mmF1.4 R. Editing with Lightroom, using VSCOfilm presets.

More info: takashiyasui.com | reco-photo.com | facebook | twitter500px | instagram (h/t: designtaxi)

Taiwanese-French-American ballet dancer Mickael Jou’s breathtaking self-portraits

Mickael Jou is a unique self-portraitist. A Taiwanese-French-American living in Berlin, he takes self-portraits combining two arts: photography and dance.

A trained dancer, I used to perform ballet and modern dance in the streets of Paris. Tourists would quite often photograph and film me in action in Paris, and after seeing the pictures taken of me, I decided that I should try it out. Ad so I bought a camera and read the instruction manual. 

My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.

Mickael plans to take 365 dance self-portraits and has already been working on this project for more than 3 years.

More info: Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | mickaeljou.com

Photo source: mickaeljou.tumblr.com

Siam Center x Medicom Toy (Japan) Worldwide Tour II Be@rbrick

The Siam Center in Bangkok has announced it has joined forces with Japanese toy manufacturer Medicom Toy to host the famed Be@rbrick World Wide Tour II, an exhibition that showcases some of the rarest and highly-coveted bear figurines in existence. Among the limited edition Bearbricks on display will be from graffiti artist Andre Saraiva, illustrator James Jarvis, photographer Mika Ninagawa, NEIGHBORHOOD founder Shinsuke Takizawa and Hong Kong native Edison Chen.

In addition to a commemorative tribute to Thai graphic designer and street artist Mamafaka, a Thai-themed Bearbrick wearing Muay Thai shorts and gloves, and the traditional Mongkol and Prajioud, will also be released.

The Be@rbrick Worldwide Tour 2 runs through until July 13.

Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky presents Benjamin Von Wong’s “Underwater River”

For the fifth installment of its “Stay True” collaborative series, following projects with graffiti artist INSA and DJ-producer Black Coffee, Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky partners with “hyper-real” photographer Benjamin Von Wong for a unique underwater experience. Floating 30 meters down in an ancient Mexican sinkhole is a cloud-like layer of hydrogen sulphide which separates salt and fresh water to create a unique visual phenomenon – an underwater river.

Inspired by this natural phenomena, along with a desire to celebrate his Chinese heritage, his beliefs and his deeply ingrained passion for experimentation, Benjamin set to work with Ballantine’s to create these seemingly impossible underwater images – a stunning, contemporary recreation of a fading ancient tradition, the Chinese Cormorant Fisherman.

After four months of intensive planning and research, across three continents, a special team comprised of some of the world’s most experienced divers, set builders, underwater filmmakers and even a record-breaking free-diver descended on the Mexican jungle for five days to undertake a challenge none of them had ever before contemplated.