A box of old photographs revealed to me the atrocities my grandfather had seen. I wanted to explore what these pictures mean to me; a grandchild of a war veteran, and for my generation. It became so visible to me what had shaped his character and made me think about how I was raised. Although the war was never talked about to me, I now understand these experiences left a blanket of detachment and nihilism over every day life.
My grandfather was a US military photographer during the Second World War and documented the destruction of the battle of Iwo Jima, Japan, also known as Operation Detachment. I have made portraits of Japanese and Chinese youth, to commemorate the war, urging this generation to reflect on how their family history has shaped them.
‘Thou shall die like beautiful cherry blossoms after a short life’, the Japanese emperor told the kamikaze, promising them that if they would die for the war, they would be reincarnated as cherry blossom. I believe the blossom now connects the old and new generation. An endless cycle of optimistic bloom and inevitable demise.