The Eyes Have It

Rumor: Photograph shows the face of a girl who was blinded by a nuclear bomb.

Claim: Photograph shows the face of a girl who was blinded by a nuclear bomb.

Undetermined

Example: [Collected via email, March 2015]

I saw this on Reddit and thought it was suspicious. Any truth to it?

Origin:The photograph displayed above, purportedly showing "the eyes that saw a nuke," is frequently shared on social media sites. Although the image is a real photograph, the title commonly applied to it may be misleading.

The photograph was taken by Scandinavian photographer Christer Strömholm in Hiroshima in 1963, about 18 years after a nuclear bomb was detonated over the Japanese city. While it is not possible to verify the age of the woman shown in the photo, it appears that she is too young to have witnessed the nuclear blast first hand:

Furthermore, when the auction house Bukowskis collected images from Strömholm's Hiroshima suite, that collection included several photographs of children. While Legendary Photo notes that Strömholm traveled to Japan in the 1960s to take photos of the victims of Hiroshima, it appears that the photographer also snapped several shots of the children of survivors:

He took haunting pictures of the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The close-up of a blind girl with scars on her face is surely the most well known of the series.

Once seen, it is never forgotten. Like most of Strömholm's photographs, this one seems unpolished and shadowed, since it was taken spontaneously and in the light available. Using the existing light was a central credo to him. Disturbingly, Strömholm confronts the viewer with a reality that is taboo and all too eagerly repressed. He lets the viewer experience unadorned human suffering without compromising the dignity of those he portrays.

While we cannot definitively say that this image depicts "eyes that saw a nuke," it is clear that Christer Strömholm's photograph at least captured a woman living in Hiroshima in the aftermath of a nuclear detonation.

Originally published: 24 March 2015

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