Not sure when it was that, in a book I happened to open, my eye fell upon that piece of text: “As the call, so the echo.”
Murmuring it aloud to gauge how it sounded, I found I also liked the intonation, and the resonance, so chose it for the title I had been struggling with.
Be it words or attitude, the elements people send out always come back to them eventually, like a ball thrown against a wall. The good, and the bad. In the past few years this fact has been brought home to me by many things that have happened, and I’ve begun to wonder if the surrounding environment, which forms in the manner one might draw a sphere, has a shape determined by “something” we emit ourselves. In addition to the likes of verbal exchanges, and actual physical contact, people seem to communicate via a mysterious “something.” A thing slightly different to aura, mood, ambiance. A sensate thing that defies exact description, and which thus I am compelled to classify, for the time being, by the overly broad term “something.”
That “something” can often be found in photographs. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, and just look for a while. You’ll find colors that are not colors, hear sounds that are not quite sounds. And, just like an echo, a moment will come when you will hear it. Not a thing with sound waves – leaves rustling on trees, the mewing of a cat, the sound of guitar playing, children frolicking, that kind of thing – but sounds never audible while clicking the shutter. Sounds first heard on looking back at the print. Relying on that undulation, that air of something quivering and shimmering, a wave motion, I arrange the photos.
Some years ago, having put together the Bacon Ice Cream photo collection, I suddenly found myself unable to hear those sounds. Everything I saw looked gray. A sound that made it to my ears, but not all the way to my brain. Though visually they must have been visible, mentally I could no longer see colors. That sensation, a first for me, alerted me to the existence of a presence that could be interpreted as both color and sound. That is, I learned that when it comes to photographs, color and sound are equally significant.
Picking up the camera for the first time in a while, and taking photos in a location far from Tokyo, it struck me the resulting shots brimmed with kindness, and were free of the introverted quality that comes from looking at myself. There was a sensation of keeping my gaze firmly on the people in front of me, and engaging head on, without any awkwardness. I was delighted.
Delighted to note that the “something” I had identified in the everyday we take for granted had turned out to be a thing very close to kindness, and to have noticed, as well as a positive joy, the invisible presence possessed by these photos.
This work in four sections is composed of photos documenting the Nagano village home to my friend Tetsuro and his family, events at the pool he built, and a little show at the Kichimu event space in Kichijoji. The first time I met Tetsuro, he was walking toward me in bare feet along a path rendered squelchily swampy by heavy rain, but still managed to greet me with a smile. His presence as sensed on that occasion was of a color clearer and purer than I had seen in anyone before, and sure enough, people flocked to him as if drawn in by its sound. That environment looked to me like a very soft sort of sphere, and unmistakably, it was their way of life that revived the presence in photos that at some point had stopped.
Hopefully the folks in the village are well. I wonder how they will work in concert next, what kind of sphere they will create.