Mines, Plantation, and Factory
As the globalization progresses, the countries have come closer to each other, and the world today is linked in the most complicated and tightest manner ever. Despite this fact, the actual scenes from the global supply chain, which range from production, processing, marketing, to consumption, have become more and more distant from us, who are the final consumers. It is becoming more and more difficult for outsiders to enter the inside of these chains to take photos even in developing countries because the leakage of internal information or negative images to outside world may mean the company’s immediate dropout from the market. In this sense also, the world is linked by a very tight chain.
The photos for this exhibition are an effort to record the scenes of these supply chains. They are taken at the mines, manufacturing factories, and recycling workshops in Asia and Africa after I received an approval from these companies through negotiation. I intend to visualize elements constituting the structure of our society through these photos. To me, the art of the photography lies in its power to make evident one cross-sectional surface of our society by recording accurate details, as has been done by August Sander in his People of the Twentieth Century, and the beauty that emerges upon the accumulation of these details. I believe this is an effort to face the quintessence of photography. If I may express it roughly, I hope these photos are more than just simple records but less than the typology-type of photos or less than the contemporary art.
This project is still ongoing and has no intended ending. This is because I believe the significance of these photos lies in the continuation of recording. There is neither a beginning nor an ending, nor personal stories from the subjects, nor messages from me to the audience. The subjects have everything to tell, and my imaginations or words are too trivial before these subjects.
The most important task is to look for subjects relying on my networks, get permission for my shooting which gives them almost no benefits, go inside of these sites, and reach in front of the subjects. The only thing I can do then is to set my camera straight towards the subjects and release the shutter, being extra-careful not to make any mistakes in the operation and not to spoil the details of the subjects.
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