Thinking About Photography
Dedicated to expanding our ideas about photography
©Aramasa Taku, 2 Title
ARAMASA Taku was born in Tokyo in 1936, and lived in north-eastern China as a child. After Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, and the collapse of Manchukuo, he remained in China as a refugee for a further two years. Once back in Japan, he started a career as graphic designer, but turned to photography in the late 1960s.
©Aramasa Taku, 6 Title
In 1980 he reunited with his parents, from whom he had been separated, and started work on a photographic contribution to the effort of reuniting Japanese war orphans and their biological parents. This work branched into the photography of people of Japanese descent in Hawaii and South America. In 2000, having completed what was effectively a grand tour of foreign lands, Aramasa turned his attention to Japan. He recounts how he searched for sites unsullied not only by humans but even by birds. Over the years the HORIZON project has evolved into three separate strands: The Border, Vegetation and Visible Transfiguration.
©Aramasa Taku, 4 Title
©Aramasa Taku, 5 Title
The images in Aramasa’s HORIZON series shown in this exhibition evolved naturally from the documentary work described above. They can be understood as the outcome of a new way of trying to address the insurmountability of the boundaries that lie between the nearby and the distant, and between the present and the past. Positioning his camera on clifftops overlooking the sea in different parts of Japan, he gazes into the distance at what lies beyond the invisible borders that define the nation’s territorial boundaries. The images are no longer documentary in that they seek out places where, as in a dream or trance, spirits hover and roam. Standing in front of these large-scale photographs, one is overwhelmed by the sense of being in the presence of spirits invited down to earth to be prayed to.
©Aramasa Taku, 1 Title
©Aramasa Taku, 8 Title
ARAMASA Taku started working on his HORIZON series in the latter half of the 1990s. Part of it was shown at a retrospective exhibition entitled Mokushi (Silence) held at Musashino Art University in 2006. The project became larger than initially intended and underwent a number of changes that resulted in further exhibitions at Tokyo Publishing House (Yokota Shigeru Gallery) in 2012, Annely Juda Fine Art in London in 2014 and now, in 2016, in the form of a solo exhibition at the Ginza Nikon Salon. This shows the HORIZON series in its most developed and comprehensive form.