It was a long, long time ago. Each of them was sleeping in a liquid inside a small flask about the size of a human thumb. All of them had oyster-colored skins, and were shaped like shrimps.
In a glass case at the end of a row of shelves in a dark corridor of an obstetrics and gynecology hospital near the Tanzawa mountains in Kanagawa, countless fetuses in formaldehyde were quietly leaning on each other as they looked out into the sun-drenched courtyard*.
― Daido Moriyama, afterword PANTOMIME
Back when he had just started working as a freelance photographer, Daido Moriyama visited a gynaecological hospital in Kanagawa prefecture and took photos of the embryos they kept floating in formaldehyde jars. The pictures eventually found their way into the monthly publication ‘Gendai no Me’, were part of one of Moriyama’s first exhibitions and of his first solo photo book, “Japan: a Photo Theater”.
“Pantomime” is a collection of these eery, strangely beautiful black-and-white photographs - some of them published for the first time.
Includes an account of the photographs’ creation process by Daido Moriyama in English & Japanese.