Waterfalls are a place of mystery for me where I feel an indescribable, inhuman presence that both frightens and intrigues me.
There is a painting entitled “Painting of Nachi waterfall” which, for 14 centuries, was believed to incarnate divinity. The first time I saw this painting, I saw nothing more than an elegant brushstroke on a dark background. Only after did I discover all the details and depth it contained, and renew with my initial, contradictory impression of waterfalls. « Taki » is a contemporary translation of this painting.
The cherry tree holds a special place in the heart of the Japanese, who traditionally celebrate the blossoming of its flowers. After a week of festivities, the petals have fallen and lie scattered on the ground. Indifference re-settles afterwards, but I decided to go back there, alone, to photograph these strewn petals. These photographs are inherently sad, but also gave me hope.
I returned to Japan twice in 2003. My mother was suffering from a terrible illness. Despite these grim circumstances, nothing in my family’s daily life seemed to have changed. It seemed as cruel as it was beautiful. This life, to which I had never paid attention, revealed its power to me. I shot it without thinking, intuitively, in the familiar space of my home. Its vulnerability became mine. When I look at these pictures, something whispers on the paper and I can’t look away. It’s so peaceful. At times, though, it grips my heart…
Almost two years have passed since my mother’s death. When I went to Japan last year, I found her kimonos, which she kept after she got married. These keepsakes will soon be shared among my family and I.
I decided to claim these kimonos by making photograms. This simple process involves placing an object on photo-sensitive paper and exposing it to light to capture its shadow.
Using this technique, I was able to capture the shape of the shadow cast by my mother’s kimonos.
These portraits are photograms. The idea was to eliminate
as many barriers between the subject and the photograph
as possible to add force to the shot, using neither
a camera nor film. Despite this direct process, the result
is closer to death than life. The people in these portraits
I first visited Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines on a stormy day. There was no one in the street and the sky loomed overhead. I was taken by the atmosphere. I looked at the river that runs along the road – the Liepvrette, which crosses the valley. The movement and sound of the water consoled me.
For me, the Liepvrette river is the identity of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. The sound of its water is like an intermediary between the river and the town’s residents.
It runs through the valley like a spinal cord. The mineral washing and fabric making that helped this village prosper were made possible by this river, which today flows discretely through town and is less important than before. Nevertheless, it continues to console the hearts of those who live here, all along its course – myself included, in fact. I grew up in a house on the edge of a small river with the sound of water in my ears. This sound is engraved in my memory. When I close my eyes, it wells up from the bottom of my heart.
I began by shooting the surface of the Liepvrette from every bridge in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines.
Lighting a candle in a sacred place and saying a prayer is a ritual performed all over the world. I photographed this ceremony in a church and again in a Buddhist temple. In my photographs, the candles, which burn for just a few hours, are sparkling, whereas the people have almost disappeared, as if already in the hereafter. I found this shifting effect particularly interesting.