interview for TSUKA

Morishita-san, you are an excessive shooter (you shoot much) and are very involved with the photography community in Japan. Can you tell me how you started photography?

When I started doing photography, I didn’t have anything to express or any themes to accuse, neither happiness nor unhappiness, just a little frustration. In short, I started taking photos without special intentions. Then I was completely fascinated by the simple sincerity of the photograph and decided to be “a photographer” at the time of 21.
Since I have no particular intentions in taking a photo, I need to shoot a lot.

Your work could be described as abstract and I think it is highly influenced by historical Japanese photography that is becoming widely appreciated internationally. I am thinking of Provoke, can you tell me about your influences?

Lewis Baltz is the photographer I’m highest influenced by.
A photograph in ‘PARK CITY’, in which black smoke was going up at desolate Prospector Village, suggested another possibility of photography to me. I found that using photographs as a means to confront the existence of the object, not as a copy of the object, would create a savage and physical intelligence in photography.
Among Japanese photographers, I feel close to Yoshimura Akira. He is a rare one  leaving the picture behind.

Speaking of ‘PROVOKE’, I’m not interested in any aspects of agitations that strongly reflect the political situation at that time and the sense of social crisis. I’m interested only in the aspect that clearly showed us its posture to accept the rawness as it is without segmenting the world. ‘PROVOKE’ had the raw desire due to have brought physicality into photographic expression. In that sense, I can say that I’m influenced by Moriyama Daido’s humidity and Nakahira Takuma’s poetry.

Let’s focus on your work. How have are you responding to the Tsuka theme, both in terms of ideas and your photography techniques?

I’m not a type of photographer who produces using themes. I always think about expressing the touch of ‘existence’, the pleasure of life and frustration at the same time in one work. And I’m convinced that continuing to create photographs as ahead of theories and emotions in the best way to realize ‘existence’ in a true sense.

You recently launched ‘asterisksbooks’ as an independent publisher and this is very exciting. Please tell me about this new publishing project, what do you plan to publish in the future and is there a conceptual idea and/or particular type/style of photography you plan to publish?

An attitude that I give the highest priority is to be along with vague things sincerely in asteriskbooks.
Don’t you think this is one of the attitudes that is the strongest point in photography?
I have several ideas for publication. Regardless of whether  he/she is a professional or not, or whether to be a photographer or not, I will take advantage of the lightness of footwork unique to an independent publisher and I will do work on with them.

Asterisks is the title of your recently published first photobook and the new publishing venture (company). What does this title mean?

“Asterisk” is a symbol to call attention. And this is the most important point, it’s used as a wild card representing ‘uncertainty’. That is, it symbolizes the act of giving a clear form to ‘somewhat unknown’.
Photography is a thing that requires consideration for ‘existence’ more than anything and the act of giving a clear form to ‘somewhat unknown’ is common with photography. That’s why I chose “asterisk “ as the title.
Also, I like that its etymology is Greek ‘star’.

I’m fascinated by the seventh image in the photobook (a group of people standing and looking out at the ocean with white halos beaming up from their heads). Can you elaborate (tell more) about this photograph? Perhaps also about your method of shooting (walking around looking) and processing and printing? (I have attached a jpeg of the image I’m talking about)

I remember well about when I took this photo. At that time, a group under sightseeing was strolling while enjoying the scenery below. I snapped it.

I arranged the sky a lot there in order to emphasize a group of people as a form. White halos beaming up from their heads are unevenness of film development. When developing films or printing in a darkroom, I value accidental factors like this. Because I think fortuity is one of the most beautiful things.

Such an attitude is also the same when shooting. I do not decide what and where to shoot. I just take photos of what appears in front of me.

This attitude may be criticized by people who place importance on themes, styles and communications through work. However, what I’m trying to express with photos can be said as philosophical, that is, ‘pureness’ of photographs themselves or ‘reality’ of ‘existence’. So I believe that my apparently roundabout attitude (method) is actually the most effective to close to what I want .

Let’s cast our minds back to 2013 when you visited Melbourne and Mildura to exhibit at Wallflower Photomedia Gallery. What are your thoughts on Australia, is it a place you would like to photograph?

When I arrived at the gate of the airport to Melbourne, I saw a giant, 2 meters tall, lying on the floor and playing a game, I laughed in spite of myself. There were many open-minded people in Melbourne and Mildura, so I was able to stay comfortably. From desert to big cities, Australia having various landscapes is  a very attractive country. As I mentioned above, I can take photos anywhere, so I’d like to visit more places to do that.













Q.最近、あなたは独立系出版社としてasterisksbooksを立ち上げましたが、それは非常に心躍る出来事です。この新しい出版プロジェクトについてお聞かせ下さい。将来、どのようなものを出版しようと思っていますか。あなたが出版しようと思っている写真に共通する考え方の枠組み’conceputual idea’とか、特定のタイプ/スタイルなどはあるのですか。教えて下さい。






A.この写真を撮った時のことはよく覚えています。観光中の集団が眼下の景色を楽しみながら思い思いに散策しているのをスナップしたものです。人の群れをフォルムとして強調するために空を多く取り入れました。人の頭部からオーラのような白いもやが立ち上がっていますが、これはフィルム現像のムラです。私はフィルム現像や暗室でのプリントの際にこういった偶然の要素を(やりすぎ、too much、にならないように配慮しながら)取り込んでいます。偶然とは最も美しいものの一つだからです。


Q.さて、Wallflower Photomedia Galleryで展示するためにあなたがメルボルンやミルデューラに訪れた2013年に立ち返って。