Hiroshima, Hopes and Dreams

Hiroshima, Hopes and Dreams12″ x 9″ x 3 “, seven ‘signatures’ in portfolio case: black kozo and yuzen cover, ink brushwork on Arches, computer-generated ink and photocopied ink on vellum.

In 1996, I began working on Hiroshima, Hopes and Dreams, 1997, as a way of visually exploring the loss of my husband Aaron to a four-month bout with lung cancer in 1985. Using the context of our 1984 trip to Japan, I visualized it as a sparse, minimal bookwork with a few phrases. However, as I juxtaposed images and text, the project took on a life of its own. Each book dummy seemed over simplified and incomplete. As I expanded a phrase or page, the project became more emotionally complex, technically difficult and materially costly than I desired. After working around the clock for several months, Hiroshima was completed as a stab bound seven-signature work housed in a black box and wrapped in a black cloth. The package was just about the size and weight of the box in which Aaron’s cremated remains had been returned to me.

Making Hiroshima was an important rite of passage for me. A highly personal book about mourning, it provided the seeds needed to resolve issues related to other projects in progress at that time.

  • .
    There I am
    With the camera around my neck.
    How much of what I shoot
    Is to confirm
    What National Geographic taught me to see?
    I remember taking this photo.
    Looking through the lens
    At patterns made by the stones
    Thinking it was not a good picture
    But wanted to remember details.
    Now I wish I had focused
    On more of the small
    Insignificant things.
    A solitary sitter
    By the water’s edge.
    Could be any place.
    Have taken that picture many times.
    I carry it in my mind.
    Within six months
    After we return to New York
    He is diagnosed as having
    Terminal cancer and is
    Given four months to live.
    Stunned and totally at a loss
    I learn to take his cue.
    There is no better time than now.
    Be candid and clear.
    No easy thing to do.
    After he dies
    I become incapacitated.
    Locked within layers of thin ice.
    My sorrow connects to an
    Infinite stream of grief.