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.