In an impending disaster, with just minutes to evacuate, what one treasure would you take with you?

People always answer the same: Photos

Why Photos? Because everything else is replaceable.

Photos are the true treasures of our lives. They serve us as our memories by chronicling the happy moments of younger days, marking important milestones in our children’s lives, reminding us of loved ones lost. We collect them over the years and assemble them into photo albums which in turn become our own autobiographies.

Imagine the misfortune of a family losing a history of memories in the wake of tragedy like those victims in Japan affected by the events of March 11th. Thats what inspired us to start “Photohoku” a project to rebuild and restart family photo albums of those affected by distaster.

As photographers, we wanted to take photos, and we wanted a way to help that would have a direct impact of the lives of victims, and one way we saw helping was to visit some of the most devastated areas of Tohoku with a box of Instant Film and trunk full of empty photo albums both donated by our sponsor Fujifilm, and attempt to help people start over.

When distaster strikes, life doesn’t just stop. Kids still grow up, relationships blossom anew, relatives pass on, and new memories have to be made, and so does the task of starting new photo albums. This is how we help.

Below is a collection of photos from of our first visit to Tohoku. We visit the cities of Ishinomaki and Onagawa where we met all kinds of people, listened their stories, made a photo of them and for them, that they could instantly hold and put it an album and encouraged them start again, and rebuild their memories, and make new ones.

We intend to continue this effort by visiting these devastated areas as frequently as your support will allow us, to help to do a small part to help Tohoku and its beautiful people get a new start.


UPDATE: One part of this project that we hadn’t forseen before we embarked on Tohoku was that once we helped these people start new albums, they might not have cameras to take the photos to continue with them. So we’re thinking about asking people who want to help but can’t be here, to dig out their old digital camera out of the closet (with charger) and forward it along and let us help find a new home for it. If you or anybody you know can participate this way, please contact us and we’ll tell you how to get it to us.

UPDATE II: Looks like we are heading back up to Tohoku this weekend to continue our project, restarting family photo albums for those affected by the events of 3.11. ( We have a box fill of film donated by Fuji Film and a few cameras donated by our friends. Now we are trying to offset the cost of train tickets and rent-a-cars by asking in you could make a small contribution. There is a paypal donate button at the bottom of the webpage. If we had 40-50 people give $10, we’d be smooth sailing. This is not-for-profit, and we’re getting that legit as we speak.

This is a way for you to share in something that is one way of actually putting these people’s lives back together. Can you help?

Thanks for the consideration (and the moral support!)

For any questions on how to support, please mail (Eng) or (JP).

Thank you!

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