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Series JAPANESE ABROAD 1 Noriko Hayashi Shedding Light on the Overlooked LUCA MAJERO A N aged arm emerging from a sphygmometer. A child weeping alone against a bright yellow wall. A lonely old woman asleep beside her bed, a magazine open on her lap. The red keel of a ship washed up in the midst of a shattered street. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Noriko Hayashi’s photos could fill an encyclopedia on the subjects of desolation, pain and solitude. “I always ask myself what it means to be a professional photographer,” Hayashi says. “People seem to be recognized as professionals just for being able to 26 | highlighting japan make a living off taking photos, but there are many brilliant photographers who can’t make a living off their work.” Hayashi’s development as an international photographer began in 2006, while she was studying international relations in university. In that year, she traveled to the Gambia to deepen her knowledge of that nation and Liberia. While there, she applied for work at The Point, a local newspaper. Since her English wasn’t up to scratch for editorial work, she was asked to contribute as a photographer. Working in the Gambia, Hayashi began to seek out those overlooked stories that can be found under the surface of society. It wasn't long before she began to travel the world documenting women’s rights concerns, social issues and natural disasters, striving to show what she describes as “the stories that are too small to get told by big media.” Through her photos, she has chronicled women scarred by acid attacks, children born with HIV, and people suffering in the aftermath of earthquakes and floods. Her publication history now includes Der Spiegel, The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune,