On August 6th 1945, at 8:15 AM, my grandfather witnessed a great tragedy that destroyed nearly everything in Hiroshima. He survived the bombing, yet he lost many of his family members from the explosion and radiation poisoning. Before his passing from cancer when I was 9 years old, my grandfather told me the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima “...was like hundreds of suns lighting up the sky.”
The bomb released a roaring fire ball that matched the temperature of the Sun itself. The heat vaporized the people near ground zero and left devastating burns on those left alive. With a scarcity of even basic medicine, the survivors treated their burns with honey and various oils such as cooking and motor oil. What differentiated this bomb from all others before was that the survivors’ burning skin would heal, but the true horror laid beneath their flesh as the invisible radiation consumed their bodies years after the war.
"Burning Away" and "Under My Skin" utilizes honey and various oils on a sun-fused silver gelatin paper in a recreation of the numerous stories by survivors seeking to heal the charred trauma. The blinding heat was not the only effect of the nuclear bombings; the radiation that my grandfather was exposed to pierced through his skin and inscribed itself onto his genes and onto my own. Many others were unaware of the invisible threat that was implanted within their bodies like a second bomb waiting to go off. It was their children and grandchildren who were witnesses to these cancers and the numerous fights. The pattern of the print depends on the type of oil used on the paper, creating various microscopic like images that may remind one of cancer cells.