Surveillance / 観察


Since I have gotten older, I have become curious about the lives of woman in their 20s. For some reason I find many of them quite cold and daring. Perhaps they have grown stronger after repeated disappointments, or they have simply become tired of things. I wonder if they are trying to display their confidence and self-reliant capacity to survive life’s journey. In this work I have looked into their lives in order to find out what is behind their charm and mystery.

I began searching for collaborators for the project through online bulletin boards and acquaintances. Those who were interested in participating would send me emails with details of their age, height and a profile picture. We met up to discuss about the project, and unexpectedly I found all of them very open and calm. Coming from different backgrounds, office workers, teachers, art students, and so on, they would tell me a lot of things about their work and family. They seemed to be very strong –willed but also very fragile and innocent. Meeting them in person did not change the impression I had of them in the beginning.

After explaining the concept of this project, I passed to them an infrared trail camera that was originally designed to monitor animals. The camera does not need any form of operation - it automatically captures without emitting any sound or light when it detects movements. Pictures taken cannot be reviewed with the camera. The participants moved around freely in their rooms in the presence of the camera. No photographer was present and they would not know when the shutter operated or how the pictures would turn out. Occasionally, they would deliberately pose in front of the camera in the dark, and during the other times their daily lives were being recorded, unconscious of the camera. The camera would keep shooting even though they might have eventually grown tired of being photographed. When they returned the camera to me, they seemed to be more curious about the results than I was, as if they were peeking into the lives of other people.

I entrusted them with the whole photographic process for this project, in order to exclude the photographer's intentions, techniques, and the possibility for any relationship between the photographer and the subject to be reflected in the work. Unobserved by anyone in particular, only their awareness of self and their bodies remain present in the atmosphere. In the end, this remote “surveillance” did not reveal any secrets about the participants. What I could see is how they are facing up to society on their own, trying their best to go through their everyday lives without losing their modest dreams. There is a kind of glory in them that makes them radiant, like muses, even though they might not know it themselves. While the project may be a living documentary of their present existence it is also a representation of my fond hope for them to remain in peace and dignity.