(bad scan from the book “Stray Dog”
Searching for images related to the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima I felt that the photographs by Daido Moriyama published in “Stray Dog” came the closest to to what I was looking for.
After looking at hundreds of photojournalistic images, most of them lacking individuality both by pictorial language or what they were depicting, I have realized, that for information I rather go for text than images. The images I have seen were interchangeable: disaster, disaster are and victims.
Ordinary life will go on in Japan. But now there is the forbidden zone. And there will be victims of radiation, year after year.
Moriyamas photographs don´t give us information photographers usually try to convey.
His images give us impressions, they are hard to dissect into bits and pieces, and they are hard to explain. They either reach the recipient on an emotional lever or they don´t reach them at all.
A photograph is a secret about a secret. Without secret, nothing remains but boring redundancy.
Moriyama is very much of a snap shot photographer. He points and shoots. Looking at his homepage I wish he would edit his work more than he does. Randomness is the expression that comes to my mind looking at his work.
Shooting without looking through the finder means not framing reality, means not editing what you see as a photographer. In this case, editing should take place after shooting.
In Moriyamas successful images, and the book “Stray Dog” is a collection of, all in all successful images, I get the impression of an everyday Japan, that I can touch and feel.
At his best, Moriyamas photographic language is unmistakably individual, powerful and generous.
His photographs are breathing melancholy and there always seems to some unspecific threat lurking around a corner. Ordinary life, everyday happiness, always endangered even when things are going their ordinary ways.
But Fukushima was something extraordinary.
Radiation is creeping through the lives of Japanese men and women, and through the lives of their children.