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Number 1 Shimbun

Exhibition: They Touched My Heart

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photographs by Derrick Woolacott

IN JANUARY 1946, SERGEANT Derrick Woollacott was a 22-year-old photographer for the Royal Air Force, stationed in Iwakuni. This exhibition displays a selection from a series of 100 personal photographs taken in and around Hiroshima Prefecture in that year. As a young airman, fresh from the War in Southeast Asia, he was completely overwhelmed by the beauty and dignity of the Japanese people, an experience that changed his life forever.

His images – all presented in full negative, uncropped – focus on Japanese people going about their lives and include stunning portraits of mothers and children, fishermen and farmers, taken mere months after the destruction of Hiroshima. While many were published at the time, and he won first, second and third prize in a photographic competition in the Mainichi English edition in October 1946, this is the first time that they have been seen in public since 1947.

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Several of Derrick Woollacott’s Japanese photographs were published in England in 1947. He was an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and made his living as a professional photographer until the late 1970s when he started to work on various inventions for photographic processing and printing. He died in 1991. His daughter, Valerie Neale, is researching his photographic history in Japan and Southeast Asia in 1945-6, and has written an as-yet unpublished book about these years. She will attend the opening reception of this exhibition on Dec. 7 at 7pm.

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Published in: December 2015

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