First Person: A Single Frame From Japan’s Tsunami Aftermath by David Guttenfelder

David Guttenfelder / AP
David Guttenfelder / AP
Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 13, 2011.

Tokyo-based Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder was on assignment in China when the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11. He got on the first available flight back to cover the aftermath. Lightbox noticed a particularly poignant photograph among the many haunting images of the devastation and asked Guttenfelder for the back story.

“In every town I’ve entered there have been bodies of victims, and I was saddened when I realized that all of the dead I’ve seen were elderly,” Guttenfelder said in an e-mail. “I assume this is because they were all alone and too frail, too slow to escape when the tsunami sirens started wailing. We discovered this woman lying next to the stairs of her home. I don’t know more about her but I believe that recovery teams, or neighbors placed the blanket on her. It was among the saddest of scenes I’ve witnessed here. She looked beautiful to me, but so alone.”

Related Topics: , , ,

Latest Posts

DC 050.52 001 elephant relocation # I, ol pejeta conservancy, no

Save the Animals: David Chancellor’s Powerful Photographs of Conservation Efforts

Rhinos and elephants are being killed in the thousands, but as David Chancellor's powerful photos attest, rangers are stepping up

Read More
Daniel Berehulak for the New York Times

PJL: July 2014 (Part 2)

Soldiers playing football, Army training camp, 1917

1914 – 1918: The War Years in Photographs