Unreal Nature

September 14, 2016

Method for Understanding

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:50 am

… Any halfhearted thoughts or attempts at concealing yourself will be exposed by your photographs …

This is from the essay ‘Sekai ninshiki no hōhō (A Method for Understanding the World)’ by Fukushima Tatsuo [1966] found in Provoke: Between Protest and Performance: Photography in Japan 1960-1975 edited by Diane Dufour, Duncan Forbes, Walter Moser, and Matthew S. Witkovsky (2016):

… once we try to capture a certain something that is not (or is beyond) the external or optical state of things — things that are invisible to the eye, such as the meaning of things, the reasons for their existence and the ways in which civilization and humanity ought to exist — then photography becomes an expressive method with a clear purpose.

[line break added] Photography ceases to be a series of scientific mechanisms and becomes instead a method for raising the subjective consciousness of people and things, revealing the problems that exist between them and the world. This is inevitable and there is no way to escape it. Any halfhearted thoughts or attempts at concealing yourself will be exposed by your photographs, as if you are a hunter whose scheme is foiled by the fox.

[line break added] As long as the world is not suddenly demolished by a nuclear explosion and mankind is not extinguished, we cannot escape from photography and we will continue to photograph. Just as humankind cannot live without questioning or being questioned about the meaning of life (or as long as this is true), we cannot photograph without questioning or being questioned about the meaning of photography.

… While it is the ultimate truth that photography is a “method for understanding the self,” when a [camera] club considers “photography as a mirror,” its members become inward-looking, only addressing their personal problems on their own. Preoccupied with self-development, such a method is a self-enclosing circle (it is a kind of “closed” circulatory system).

… When the “method for understanding the self” does not develop into the “method for understanding reality,” and the “method for understanding reality” splits and breaks away from the “method for understanding the self,” the photographer (the subject), his photographs, and his “reality” will walk the path toward decay and eventually perish entirely.

… I sincerely hope that their “method for understanding the self” is simultaneously a “method for understanding reality,” and that their “method for understanding reality” is a “method for understanding the world.”

My previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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