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Issue One | Shimabara, Japan

Hey there! My name is Hannah, I’m the in-house designer at Photoworks, as well as a photographer and sculptor. I recently returned from a month-long trip to Japan to visit family and a few artists. I brought my trusty Yashica D and 20 rolls of Kodak Portra 160 to document my journeys.

I’ll be sharing some images and talking about the trip within the next few journal entries to inaugurate the new Photoworks website!

These images are from 3 days I spent in Shimabara, Kyushu visiting the sculptor Senri Nojima. He is known for his smooth, almost cream-like creations which are regularly shown in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagasaki. He works out of his father’s former construction company’s warehouse, nestled under the active volcano Unzen that towers over Shimabara (thankfully it’s not supposed to erupt again until 2196). He lives there with his wife, Martha, a teacher and ceramicist originally from San Francisco.

Shimabara was still hot and humid when I was there in late September, and is surrounded by a rather chaotic environment with earthquakes, typhoons and the always-looming 雲仙岳 Unzen-dake. Senri's family has been in Shimabara for generations; when the volcano last erupted in 1991 their family home (as well as many others) had to be relocated to a safer location, leaving an abandoned village at the base of Unzen. Recently the town across the bay, Kumamoto, was rocked by a massive earthquake that left a large wake of destruction. I took the ferry from Kumamoto to Shimabara and the damage is still lingering with collapsed bathrooms and patched-together walkways.

With chirping crickets and sudden thunderstorms, giant green leaves and gentle waters, the entire Kyushu area is so beautiful - and so peaceful when it's quiet - I can see why the old families don't move away, despite the ominously shifting earth below and clouds above.