Hybrid Art

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions


Masamichi Kagaya (JP)


In 2011, huge amounts of radioactive particles were released into the air from a nuclear power plant in Japan. The extent of radioactive contamination continues to be hotly debated throughout Japan. And yet, very few have taken on the task of capturing a visual image of the radiation for the public to see, enabling people to see the radiation emitted by objects directly affected by the fallout and how the flora and the fauna in radioactively contaminated areas absorb radioactive substances. This kind of work has not been made public and the media continue to report that radiation is invisible, inaudible, odorless, and hence harmless.

Looking back at history, in 1896 Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity while studying the properties of x-rays and he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in this field. Although we have the means to visualize radiation, the amount of visual records of radioactive contamination is quite limited, despite having witnessed the aftermath of the atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the global fallout from nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s/60s, and the nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986).

I decided to create and leave behind as many visual records of the radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster in 2011 as possible. I am fortunate to have the cooperation of Satoshi Mori, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, in this endeavor to use autoradiography to make radioactive contamination visible. During the past 5 years, we covered a wide range of specimens from daily necessities to flora and fauna and developed a 3D autoradiograph at the end of 2016. Our technique can be applied to a great variety of samples.

The photo project Autoradiograph is still in progress. Autoradiograph is not only a collection of visual records of the effects of the nuclear disaster, it also shows world media and scientists a new way to present and analyze radioactive contamination. Masamichi and Professor Mori have captured more than 300 images in the past five years and published a book Autoradiograph in 2015. More than 25 exhibitions of their work have been held in Japan, Canada, and France, as well as at the FORMAT International Photography Festival in Derby, UK in 2017. Their work has appeared in more than 15 newspapers and magazines in Japan and abroad, including Le Monde and Liberation in France, GEO magazine in Germany, and Asashi Shimbun in Japan. Their work has also appeared on Reuter TV, Nippon TV News, and in the NHK documentary Radioactive Forest, which won the National Arts Festival Award in 2016.


Masamichi Kagaya

Masamichi Kagaya (JP) is a photographer. He returned to Japan in July of 2011 after his first long-term photo project in France, and started looking for a way to visualize radiation using contaminated samples from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. He met Satoshi Mori (JP), professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, who was capturing images of radioactive contamination from plants after the nuclear accident. Masamichi is currently working on a second photo project Autoradiograph with the cooperation of the University of Tokyo.

Support received from Satoshi Mori, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo.