Talk about Women

Whether one cares about women and women’s rights is absolutely linked to the goodness of a person. Therefore I think that those who cannot respect women can’t respect life on earth.

Women are source of life on earth. Without women nobody would exist. Of course without men nobody would exist either but there’s difference; women do the hardest and most important job in making human life possible. After having sex man can take a trip abroad, man’s job is finished; the baby will grow inside woman just the same. Woman can host life, so women have unique insight life on earth. Much has been written about the phenomena of female intuition, sometimes they just have hunch on things that men cannot, frightening insight, even..

My father used to say “women exist only on the purpose to be enjoyed by men”. I was quite upset about this, I was about fourteen I think. I disagreed. I was bullied in school quite badly, and then I thought how awful his words are, as that means men can actually bully women. What a horrible bullshit are those words. Women must be protected and loved and admired.

But then, I do not by any means think women are weaker than men. Women are in many ways more flexible, thus they don’t break as easily as men. Again I think this is because of the “superpowers” of women; the strange intuition.

If feminist agenda is that women must have be able to do same thing as man, then I think it’s missing it’s point. I can’t understand women who opt-in to the military service in Finland. In Finland men and women are already equal and this does not need proving. Sure addition of women makes the nuisance and stupidity of army more tolerable for the men in there, but willingly joining such activity and risking one’s god given healthy body is beyond my understanding.

As a photographer I wish I can help to support women and their unique beauty. After all I was made by one, so I want to say thanks.

A way to relax

I remember a conversation with a friend some years ago. I was explaining my frustration with photography to her, and how I feel photography is actually kind of pointless.

She said to me something like this:

“Even if it’s just a hobby, I wish you keep taking photos.”

Forgetting all the serious stuff, artistic suffering, professional photography, the pain of having exhibitions and worrying if the photos become a cohesive series, could photography be simply just a way to relax, a catharsis?

I absolutely think so.

One of the reasons why I sold my X100 and switched to film camera is because I want my photography to be less digital thing; something I can do without touching a computer so that I can relax more.

Taking photos of people is a wonderful way for me to communicate with them, especially with people I don’t know that well. It’s a bit like journalist is sympathizing while making an interview, a kind of soul communication. In that space with a camera I can just be completely myself, it’s so liberating.

But shouldn’t photography have a goal and shouldn’t photographer try hard and have ambition to reach that goal? Maybe. But someone said, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. Maybe we don’t need to suffer all the time even if we feel pain, frustration and loneliness at times.

The truth is that I am completely fine with the probable fact that I will never be famous or “successful photographer” whatever that means.  After I die my books and negatives and prints will wither away and will eventually disappear completely.

But I still want to photograph. If not for other reason, just as a way to relax and be completely me for a moment.

Free

I like the word free,
and I doubt of common knowledge

Doctor

I went to have my x-rays. It seems that the situation of my lower vertebrae has not changed, the disc seems somewhat crushed, which causes inflammation. The doctor said it’s not bad enough for an operation to be necessary, but I should definitely take a rest and maybe consider taking medicine.

I decided to bear the pain and not take a medicine. I want to know what my body is telling me.

Pain is just a signal, and obscuring it wouldn’t feel right. I know my body is not stupid; it knows what it’s doing. Also drugs for this sort of thing makes me super sleepy and unable to really function. And I have to take care of my son.

For some reason I have dreamed of horses recently. I feel sad because I know I may not be able to ever ride one. I tried it before but my back instantly got hurt, even when just mildly trotting. Somehow the sitting position in the saddle was just not good for me.

But a thought came to my mind this morning. Maybe a horse could understand how I feel.  They carry humans weight on their backs but are still elegant and free. Horse’s pride is not obnoxious, it’s natural and beautiful.

Yes.. maybe a horse could understand.

Blue Monday

I have backache. Sometimes I get this piercing pain in my lower back, which feels like someone puts a knife between my vertebrae, I feel like electric is traveling down my left leg.

This is old injury I got when I was in compulsory military service in Finland. I fell into this black hole in forest in a kind of obstacle course. I said to the instructor that I’ll never make the leap. Of course it’s army so they made me do it, and I fell, three meters total, from top of the barrier to the damn hole. I was carrying a shovel on my back and it was left under my back, and my lower vertebrae took my weight, plus the shit I was carrying.

I am lucky to be able to walk. It seems the disc between the vertebrae was slightly damaged, I got very high fever and it hurt like hell for a month, but the nerve itself was not at least permanently damaged.

For most of the time I am fine. But sometimes the pain comes back, sometimes just due to the weather conditions. And trampolines and horses are out of question for me, because my back can’t seem to take the up&down movement.

It haven’t been this bad for a while, for several years at least. So I must go to hospital tomorrow to check it out and possibly get some medicines to ease the pain.

It’s hard to explain the pain by words. Pain is never just physical thing. It gets in your head, you can’t just say that my pain is in the scale of 8, because the scale is different.

Personally, I would very much like to forget the damn incident. Hell, I think I am entitled to some kind of compensation from Finnish government since as I was performing duty for my country I got permanent damage to my body. But I’m realist enough to realize it’s a lost cause to fight a battle I can’t win.

As I am taking care of my child alone, I have to find a way to take him to kindergarten tomorrow and then get myself to doctor. Walking is possible for small distance but it’s painful, and bicycle too. And it’s hard to imagine taking a taxi as sitting into the low vehicle is pure agony.

I don’t know if doctor can do anything as I’ve been to doctor many times over this, but I figure getting the painkillers wouldn’t hurt and maybe x-rays to see if the bones are basically where they should be.

I just have to be strong for now.

Pictures; My Debt

I went to Yoyogi park today to take pictures of girls. The weather was rainy so the park was almost empty. As we crossed the park through forest, it felt like scene from X-Files.

The model and her friend were both so unique and attractive people, and both of them were no strangers to camera and being photographed. So I could be myself naturally and press the shutter. Despite the rain, it was very comfortable time.

Taking pictures like this, even if it’s just once a while, is like a lifeline to me. I feel re-connected to the world and I can feel like I’m myself again. Using too much computer and not going out with my camera is definitely bad for my health (and for my back which has been rather painful these days).

I am forever in debt to those whose photo I can take. The only way to pay back this debt is to make good use of the images and make sure they are seen by people.

Indeed, it is my wish to be able to hold photo exhibition again. I skipped last year entirely, so I hope I can make something happen before this one is finished.

Anyway, tonight I developed first roll of the 72 images I shot today, and I am really delighted to see the result of exposed Fomapan 400, a film stock which I received from my friend in Czech Republic (Thanks Yoshimi!)

To photograph, is to see with one’s heart.

(Photos courtesy of Ito-san, a talented hair-makeup artist and photographer)

Film and Digital

I use film for my personal photos, and digital for work. Photos need emotion and somehow one of the ingredient seems to be real film emulsion. I shoot mostly women, and with women I need chemistry..

Film feels imperfect and analog. Because the medium is imperfect, I have better chance to success.. within the limits I can be limitless (as otherwise I am imperfect human and photographer). Film is organic and vulnerable to exposure. Film needs patience, and what I try to do with my images, definitely needs some too.

Since I like those things, I prefer to use film like Fomapan which is honest, grainy and further away from pixel world.

For my job however, I prefer to shoot digital. My clients often want to get the photos soon, and they seem not to mind, and often even prefer the digital look.  It’s cost effective and fast. I don’t mean to say that I would never shoot film for “job”. In fact I would love to.

But I like the separation actually, because I want my art to be personal work. When I have my film camera with me I know I am not shooting for others. And even if the people around me want to see the photos immediately, well, they can’t. A young woman I shot recently said she feels more comfortable in front of a film camera, because we can’t see the photos soon.

So finally, I shoot my personal work with the same camera I shoot my child and family with, a film camera.

Photography is thing of love for me.

Don’t forget

Bird don’t forget

there are hundred thousand possibilities

for dancing

Liberation

I have been taking a lot of pictures of my son. “I’m tired to be your model, please take pictures of something else”, my son says.

I suppose part of my journey as a photographer is to seek meaning of a picture. Shooting own family member automatically secures some meaning to the frame, as the time spent will never return. Child will never be child again and we will all die. Even if it’s not a very good photo in photographic sense, it will still be important because it’s unique record of the time and relationship.

For me taking pictures like that also guides me to seek my relationship to the world. I am what people call me in Japanese “majime”, a serious person , sort of. I am so very interested in human. I surely hope that my intention would be visible in any pictures I take and especially pictures of women.

It seems like every line in my life is pointing to the direction of my eventual death and disappearing. I am not sure if all people in the age of 38 think about death as much as I do. But I hope that today I can live fully and be the best version of myself.

A photo should be a liberation.