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Japan 1945: Images by Marine Photographer Joe O’Donnell 

When: Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through Sept. 1 2012
Joe O’Donnell was a 20-year-old war photographer in 1943. After the U.S. bombing raids on Japan, he was assigned to document the aftermath, and spent seven months photographing the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of the thousands of photographs he shot, 24 of the most compelling go on display today at the Tennessee State Museum, along with the camera he used. The exhibit includes a shot of a little girl dressed in traditional Japanese attire standing atop a mountain of rubble, with nothing but desolation in the background. The photo signage explains that the little girl was struck deaf because of the bomb’s explosion. In a Japanese documentary about the photographer, O’Donnell says, “American veterans do not understand me. I was there. I walked in the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese army did many terrible things ... but can’t you understand that a small child did nothing?” O’Donnell, who moved to Nashville in the mid-1980s, died in 2007, but this exhibit ensures that his anti-war legacy lives on.
— Laura Hutson

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