The images here are all 360º Panoramas. Click to open them.
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:
The following two images were taken by American photographers (one of them is anonymous)
Here is Ground Zero (the Hypocenter)