York photographer captures stunning pictures of abandoned island used in Skyfall movie
These amazing pictures were all taken by the York photographer Makiko.
This is the Japanese island of Hashima, commonly known as Gunkanjima – aka Battleship Island. With more than 5,000 residents packed into its 16 acres it was one of the most densely crowded places on earth.
Industry on the island, owned by Mitsubishi, was centred around mining the undersea coal.
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But when petrol replaced coal the mines were shut and all the residents left within a matter of weeks in 1974.
“I grew up in Fukuoka which was a three-hour trip from Gunkanjima and have a vague memory of the island,” Makiko said.
“I had always wanted to visit and it was a real privilege to be granted permission to photograph this extraordinary island where time has stood still.”
How did Makiko get permission to land on the island?
She faced many challenges, not least the harsh climate and rough waves which make it very difficult to land a boat there.
The island appeared as a haunting backdrop in 2012 Bond movie Skyfall, representing the evil home of villain, Raoul Silva.
Makiko’s 26 monochrome photographs are taken from a child’s point of view, capturing the childhood memories of a former resident.
They are going on display in an exhibition titled Paradise Revisited: a trip back to a childhood on Gunkanjima in London in May 2016.
“As far as I am aware this is the first time that there has been an exhibition of this abandoned island outside of Japan and I am really honoured to be able show this fascinating story.”
You’ve lived in many places around the world; what brought you to York?
I am a mother of two and one of them was on ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) turned out to be gifted in math. As he chose to study in a school in York rather than splitting his time between being at an international school and learning math at a prestigious national university there, I decided to come back to UK, this time York, not London.
Is York a city you’d like to photograph?
As I live in the centre of York, I became curious about how Duncombe Place was made.
Last spring, I visited and read various old books on York Minster Library, collected old photographies of the events happened on the place, etc. I even asked to meet Ron Cooke for more information.
During May last year I tried to take 500 pictures around York and, as I shot very early in the morning or very late at night, things did not turn out to be attractive for some reasons.
I paused – nearly one year passed.
I am trying to find something unique, not editorial type of pretty photography about York you could find on internet. Thought about doing a short film as well but did not realize yet.
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