Since covering the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March, I have photographed various radiation scenes in the months that followed.
Starting with shocking scenes of people who were actually contaminated with radiation being cleansed and scenes of people being isolated into a building.
I covered many people who had possibly been exposed after their evacuation from areas near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes it was difficult to ask for permission but surprisingly, almost all the people allowed me to take pictures as a Geiger counter ticked beside them.
However, being friendly to the media didn’t mean that they were not worried.
I clearly remember one girl in her early 20s collapsing into tears after finding out that she was clear of radiation. As tears rolled down her cheeks, she slowly told me that the moment when there was an explosion at the nuclear plant, she was playing with children at a nursery school in Iitate town (about 40 km from the nuclear plant) and that she had been extremely worried that the children might have been exposed to radiation. But after finally discovering that she was safe, it meant that the children were safe as well and as a result her selfless fear burst into tears.
Compared to covering the radiation checks on concerned evacuees, the recent radiation related assignments have been much easier on me mentally. This is because the checks were conducted on inanimate objects to quell radiation fears for customers. So far, I have photographed radiation checks on vehicles, cargo containers (both to be exported) and most recently domestic beef.