Zero Minutes to Midnight
The companion site to the Kindle ebook by Max McCoy
(go here for the 1986 photos)
The historic photos by Yoshito Matsushige...
Only five photos were made the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima, all by the same man -- Yoshito Matsushige, a 32-year-old newspaper photographer. He was at home at the time the bomb was dropped on the morning of. Aug. 6, 1945, a little more than a mile and one-half from ground zero. Later, he made his way into the city. The first photo he took, around 11 a.m., was of badly burned junior high school students on the Miyuki Bridge. Police are attempting to treat their burns with cooking oil. What appears to be rags are, in many cases, skin hanging from arms and legs.
Click on the photos for a detailed view and Matsushige's original captions. Warning: These are very large files.
A closer view of the first scene.
Matsushige returned to his barber shop home to take the next two photos. Here, his wife, Sumie, wears an air raid helmet and attempts to clean up. This is about 2 p.m.
Pointing the camera outside the window, Matsushige captures the debris of a collapsed four-story fire station.
In the last and probably most famous photo, Matsushige returns to the vicinity of the Miyuki Bridge, where he captures a wounded policeman writing out certifications for emergency rice rations. The location is a tram stop near the bridge. The wheel to the left of the desk is a bicycle wheel.
Lacking a working darkroom, Matsushige developed the negatives in kitchen trays and washed them in a stream near his home. This accounts for the uneven and, in some places, damaged nature of the film emulsion.
In 1986, Matsushige walked with Max McCoy the route from his home (still a barbership) to the Miyuki Bridge.
Matsushige died in 2005. He was 92.
All photos protected by copyright. No use is permitted without permission.