“Glanage”

When I was a child in Japan, I used to pick up and collect lots of things while wandering around my house. All these things that I was gathering were pieces of my own valuable treasure. 40 years later, I became a photographer. Today, the way I am working is a lot different from what I used to do during my first years. I determine a concept, I choose a shooting method, I define a dimension and I proceed. I am very methodical. Method is paramount to my creation process. It has been a year now since I have begun to take pictures with a compact camera, but this time without bothering about the concept, the size or anything else but the act of picking up things, just as I used to do. I am collecting pictures now as I was accumulating things when I was a child. During this past year, I have started to feel a sense of emancipation. I have shot many rolls of film, picking up a considerable number of everyday pieces, artefacts, items or spots that I find interesting. And when I look at my contact sheet with a magnifying glass, my eyes sometimes get caught by a small shining gem. I then choose the good timing, determine the right print format and gem start to shine brighter, just like a diamond being cut and polished. Keeping small dimensions is important. The picture has to remain as little as a diamond. I chose to keep theses dimensions between 5 and 30 centimetres. The technique used for this series is called “orotone”, which was popularized by the American photographer and ethnologist Edward Curtis (1868-1952), who took his pictures using a derivative of this process to photograph Native Americans. The power of this series is quite impressive. I have decided to adapt this process for my work. To me, these simple and humble moments are like looking for a kind of precious stone or religious icon. Picking up things which we don’t usually see and sublimate them as vaporous relics of a frozen present. These moments are so fugitive, so fragile, so beautiful. Our life is, in the end, an accretion of this kind of moments. This way of doing things is much like gleaning, to me. And as France is my land of welcome, this is why I entitled this series with the French word “Glanage”. It felt natural, perfectly fit, but also refers, as a tribute, to my family of traditional farmers, back in Japan. My intention is to pursue this series until my last days. I don’t know how long this will be, but it is definitely meant to be a long-term project. And as this collection of gleaned items will grow, hanging on the wall, it will more and more look, from afar, like the Milky Way. A Milky Way that will expand. A golden Milky Way that could be seen a vital lead for my life.

2020 –
Varied size (5-30cm)
Orotone