Late October

One year ago I was hospitalized due to a broken vertebra. A friend visited me and presented me a disposable camera. I took pictures with it.

Prints

I have been going to dark room a lot lately to make prints for my exhibition. It is so hard work to make silver- gelatin prints in traditional way. But I am quite happy with the result I get with help of great masters in DR.

I like contrast and darkness in photo.

Then, I am also happy that these photos are basically never filtered through digital medium, these are completely just chemical reaction on paper.

Seeing these images in computer screen don’t quite do them justice. Please come and see them in person next month.

金木犀

I will hold a photo exhibition in a small cafe in Hakuraku, Yokohama in November. Please come and see my photos.

Be present

I work as 3D modeler for my job. I enjoy it, but it is a work done in computer, in a 2D plane of a screen that I stare. I notice how much my heart is craving for a human contact, and a situation where I can really be myself. Sometimes I feel like I am drifting a away during those prolonged hours of making computer game models.

I was reminded today how important it is to really be present in the moment without a distraction. Photography for me is a kind of relief and therapy in that way, it puts me into the present moment. Be present in a present moment so you can be the present for the world, as I was once told.

World wants you to have your eyes open and be there.

Even though I do enjoy the solitude and doing technical 3D modeling, deep in my heart I am person who enjoys company of people. I am fascinated by people and watching them, and then if there is one source of inspiration for my music and photographs, it must be meeting people.

Somehow, it is so very natural for me to take a photo of a person.

Fragrant tree – my 7th exhibition

I am planning to hold a small photo exhibition in a cafe in Yokohama in November. It has been so long time since I hold one. And then I got a treasure chest full of images. This is my 7th private exhibition in Japan. Then, the images I will display will be all new.

The title of my exhibition is “金木犀” , a fragrant osmanthus in Japan. I love that scent, which is like woman’s shampoo. Then, photos in my exhibition are women. Women who feel the changing season. That faint and quickly disappearing scent of a familiar tree. I think that’s what photo means to me. We only have now.

I like the fact that the cafe is small and kind of hidden. I lack the energy and passion to hold exhibition that would be a big thing with a party and such involved. I don’t want any attention. All I want for now is to put my images up for some strangers to see.

To be a child again

My mother used to say “to marry someone means you look towards the future together”. She said one should look forwards, not concentrate on staring each other.

I often remember my childhood days by the lake, in that beautiful secret corner of Finland. It was the happiest time of my life; the unadulterated blue sky was watching over me and the grass smelled like gods had just created it. The horizon seemed so far away and it promised everything. In my mind everything was possible.

I think we marry so that we could be like a child again. With our marriage partner we want leave the toilet door open. With our marriage partner we want to be vulnerable, imperfect and virgin; show the face we can not show to anyone else. We want unconditional love; agreement with no terms.

How nice it would be to be able to rest again in safety of other person.

I think in this current world situation, with economy driven life in the city with no support from town folks, marriage cannot be happy. Our grandparents are left back home, often far away, and life is quickly departing from them while we are doing our humdrum everyday life just trying to get by somehow. Happy marriage seems like something only rich people could have.

It’s like your heart is breaking again, like it did when you went into adolescence, when you knew why adult people cuddle each other in the dark night. We long for our virgin days and that those fresh colors will never be the same.

If we really love someone we can’t invade their privacy. We are who we are and they are who they are. I don’t think love can exist without the words “free” or “voluntary”. Like a spark in the dark that comes from nothing into existence. I would like to love that way.

Mother

People call me sensitive, and a person who is “wet” as they say in Japanese, meaning a sort of emotional person. But actually I am mostly not; I am as dry as others. When was it that I cried like really, I found myself wondering this morning.

I took my son to kindergarten as usual and did some house chores. When I washed dishes I inspected a small crack in a mug that I got once from my mother. Long time ago when I had just moved to live on my own in Espoo she and my aunt came to visit my new apartment. We went to Arabia ceramic shop in Helsinki as I needed some dishware. She picked a mug with a white rabbit in it from the shelf. The rabbit was playing a computer game. Mother said “it’s just like you, isn’t it”, smiling. And this small treasure became mine.

I had noticed the crack few days ago, but I didn’t make much of it. But today as Kate Bush’s “Among Angels” was playing from my small portable speaker, my eyes just flooded.

I stayed with my grandma my first two years before my adoption. After I met my real biological mother, we did talk a lot and she helped me in many ways, including getting my apartment. But she never the things that a mother does, that role belonged solely to my second adopted mother. So actually I feel strange to call her “mom”.

My second mother is like a woman you read in novels. Never once I heard her complain about others. Shy but stubborn in her own way, she filled home with her presence. When she had time she would knit or read women’s magazines that explain traditional bagel recipes or family care matters. If she was upset or angry she would lock herself into a toilet. She made delicious bagel with cardamom; that smell is something I can never forget.

My mother is in last stage of Alzheimer’s. She lost the ability to speak some years ago and she is bedridden. It breaks my heart that my father also has the same illness. 

I wish I had spent more time with her and ignore those stupid things young people always do, being busy about “following my heart” and all that. But I had young man’s concerns and worries.

There is nothing I can do about the small crack that inevitably gets bigger; it’s a law of nature, a basic thermal dynamics. Nature likes to break things and we humans try to fight it to maintain the state of cohesion, keep the chaos outside the house.

Even if we suffer brain trauma or get dementia, our brain does magnificent job of keeping the childhood memory alive. I am happy to realize this solid foundation of mine.

When I’m Alone

A good photographer friend of mine said before “photographer is always alone”. Her words have stayed with me. Most people wouldn’t understand the deep truth in that statement and would say things like “no you are not alone!” or “you still have friends and family”.

Maybe when I die my photos will be like a cinema reel flashing before my eyes. Will I remember a pleasant chat in a summer day with a young girl who was kind enough to pose in front of my camera? Or will it be lowering my head in apology to a museum warehouse owner for a trouble I caused, or having my photo stolen?

I know for certain that I will be alone when I die. That is the only way I can imagine it. Maybe this life is just gathering a courage to be really me. Then will I regret the moment when I have not taken my camera even though I had a chance, when I just wanted to stay in my home alone in my underwear?

Will I regret for not fully living life of a cameraman?

Before he passed away, photo critic Kazuo Nishii said Kawase Naomi’s documentary “all we need to do is to cross the bridge, get to the other side”. I think so. We maybe mess up and cause big trouble for everyone. But we must not stop. Stopping is only thing that is truly dangerous.

I’m not sure how much I actually enjoy photography, even when I shoot what I really want to.  I am not sure of the amount of joy it actually brings to me. I often think I would be happier if I just do other things, like graphic design job which pays my bills.  I am mostly hated photographer in Japan and I was even banned to enter some gallery, which owner looks at me like I am a murderer; “a cheap copy of Araki you are and nothing more” I was told.

Then if you would estimate success of my photo book by sales numbers, which I don’t want to do, it would appear by any measure that I am “successful photographer”. I really don’t care any of that.

I have to keep taking photo and I always eventually do. It’s like a tide that comes back always, like a mania for manic depressive person after a month of lonely hibernation. I shoot because I have to and that may be the only reason. I suck at making explanations of it. Cameras bring me no joy, exhibitions bring me no joy, talk shows bring me no joy. It’s pain.

But sometimes, just sometimes I feel like a small ray of light hitting me when I see image forming in front of my eyes in darkroom. There is image of something I saw and felt; a moment that will never return, a personal experience.

Now in the aftermath of Kaori & Araki’s scandal it is harder and harder to find female model. I am lucky that I have some people who still want to be in front of my camera.

For me photo might be the ultimate way to cross the bridge, so I hope to do so 900% and earnest.