The images here are all 360º Panoramas. Click to open them.
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN 360º PANORAMA. Photographed by Harbert F. Austin Jr. from the roof of the Kodo elementary School October, 1945. Location: Nekoya-cho. Distance from hypocenter: approx. 760m. The start of restoration work by the citizens in the aftermath of the bomb can be observed as people cross bridges, ride bicycles, and walk about.
One day last year, a friend of mine stumbled across one of these images. Knowing that I am always interested in seeing historical 360º photos, he sent me the link. Panoramic photography has existed for more than a century, but I had not seen these before. Looking at these images, turning them around in a circle, is the strongest reminder I have had in a very long time of the real power of photography. The image above, even more so than all the other ones, is one of the most heartbreaking images I have ever seen.
I contacted the man running the site where the image was located. His name is Steven Starr, and he teaches at the University of Missouri. His website, www.nucleardarkness.org, is a resource for anyone who is interested in the danger of existing nuclear arsenals currently held in the world.
Steven directed me to Mari Shimomura of the Hiroshima Peace Museum. I explained to Ms. Shimomura of my desire to publicize these images more widely, and she was kind enough to send me high-resolution scans of photos comprising five different 360º panoramas shot about 6 months after Hiroshima was destroyed. The images were shot by three different American photographers, and one Japanese photographer.
The Japanese photographer, Shigeo Hayashi, said this:
On October 1, 1945, I stood at the hypocenter of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and made a slow revolution. In that instant I had a difficulty grasping that this city had been felled by a single explosion. Nothing in my experience had prepared me to conceive of that magnitude of destructive force.
Working as an army engineer for three years, I had dealt with explosive materials on a daily basis, and I thought I knew their power. Standing there, I simply could not accept at an emotional level that a single bomb had done all this.
(taken from Shigeo Hayashi’s “Approaching Ground Zero” in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the Atomic Bombings as Seen through Photographs and Artwork, Nihontosho Center.)
The panorama below was shot from a watchtower of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commerce Association. The building you see in this image still stands today:
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN 360º PANORAMA. Photographed by Shigeo Hayashi from a watchtower of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commerce Association, October 5, 1945. Location: Moto-machi. Distance from hypocenter: approx. 260m.
(You can also see more recent photos of the above place on Google Maps.)
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN 360º PANORAMA. Photographed by Shigeo Hayashi from the roof of new Chugoku Shimbun building.
The following two images were taken by American photographers (one of them is anonymous)
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN 360º PANORAMA. Photographed by H. J. Peterson in November 1945 from the roof of the Fukuya Department Store. Distance from hypocenter: approx. 710m.
Here is Ground Zero (the Hypocenter)
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN 360º PANORAMA. Ground Zero. Photographed by US Army. from the hypocenter area - Shima Hospital October, 1945