Hiromi Tsuchida presents the ultimate self-documentary
The Japanese photographer Hiromi Tsuchida has taken a self-portrait almost every day over 36 years. In 1986, Tsuchida became aware of his own aging process and began taking a self-portrait every day to visualize the slow changes that may otherwise go unnoticed. Tsuchida kept his photographs simple, quick and organized; an emotionless face in front of a white background (with only few exceptions shot against a black background or featuring a partly covered face).
“Aging 1986–2022” contains the roughly 13.000 photographs taking until 2022 and presents them in a mosaic-like layout, with each page covering about a single year of aging. The changes from one photograph to the next are subtle and almost imperceptible, yet on each new page the mass of faces look a little bit older, until the adult, mustachioed Tsuchida from 1986 suddenly looks like an old man with white hair.
The book concludes with essays by the biologist Shinichi Fukuoka and the artist himself, as well as a brief biographical text (all texts included in Japanese and in English translation).
“No matter how short the shutter speed may be, each photograph encapsulates a slight depth of time, which is equivalent to the movement of life. Then, when successive movements of life accumulate, what will be created? A probable answer is ‘time’. In other words, the question ‘What is time?’ is closely related to the question ‘What is life?’ at a profound level. Perhaps all of the big questions are really aspects of the same question.
Hiromi Tsuchida is a true scientist who relentlessly and single-mindedly asks and investigates these big questions.”
― from Shinichi Fukuoka’s essay “People Who Ask Big Questions”