Photo exhibition: Fukushima before the quake

Photo exhibition: Fukushima before the quake

"The Heart of Goodness" in Hong Kong recalls the beauty of northern Japan, while aiming to raise funds and awareness

Frances Tong photography"Fall Finale" by Frances Tong. The part-time photographer wants to remind people how beautiful Fukushima really is.When the tsunami hit Fukushima last year, even those who were not directly affected by the disaster were shocked by the images sent around the world of the damage done to the people and the prefecture. 

Part-time photographer and Hong Konger Frances Tong was one of them.

Back in 2006 she photographed parts of Fukushima that were later devastated by the 2011 quake. For her, the images of the destruction last year were particularly distressing.

"It felt like a part of my home was wiped out," she told CNNGo. 

In the immediate aftermath she set up a charity, Friends of Fukushima, to help gather and deliver provisions to the victims. 

Now, Tong, who is a business manager for a medical company by day, has been moved to remind people how this beautiful place used to look, and in some places, still does.

In a photo exhibition called "The Heart of Goodness" Tong will showcase 30 photos she took five years ago, capturing the tranquility of Fukushima's pristine lakes, mountains and landscapes. Frances Tong photography"Awakening" by Frances Tong. Proceeds from the sale of the pictures will be used to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

The exhibition is being co-hosted at Central Plaza in Wanchai, Hong Kong, by Tong's charity Friends of Fukushima and Hong Kong registered charity Green Field Foundation. It has been endorsed by the Consul General of Japan in Hong Kong.

"When I was taking photos (at Fukushima), I spent hours at one spot and had a very strong affiliation to the land. It was just unbelievable to see what had happened," Tong said.

Tong has already staged photo exhibitions on Japanese temples in San Francisco and on Chinese provinces in Hong Kong. But despite never living in Fukushima, she said it was one of her favorite and most emotional locations to date. 

"I wanted to share my photos and have (people) know about the other side of Fukushima they see now. Just come and see the photography," she said. 

"Photos are just the beginning. They will hopefully inspire people on how we should live, how to make changes in our lives."  

"Silent Heroes" by Frances Tong."The Heart of Goodness" Charity Photo Exhibition 

The photos will be on sale to the general public. The proceeds will directly benefit the people and the environment in Fukushima through charity organizations. 

Held at Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong through March 30. www.fof311.com

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