An exhibition of my photographs just opened at a museum in Sao Paulo, and there are also shows underway at museums in Rome and Beijing. While asking myself how my photographs may look to the people in these faraway places, I’m also in the middle of producing a voluptuous close-up shot of a woman’s cherry-red lips for a 3 x 3 meter billboard on the corner of the Yodobashi Camera building in Tokyo’s Nishi-Shinjuku district. Being the “red lip fetishist” that I am, I didn’t think twice before accepting that job, and working on that one shot gave me a boost and inspired me to walk over to the entertainment district west of the railway overpass, to shoot the crowds of people in the streets. As a result, volume 51 of “Record” is entirely dedicated to the Nishi-Shinjuku neighborhood. It had been a while since I’d last walked and shot in the Nishi-Shinjuku area, and while these photographs were made with my usual attitude, I particularly wonder how they will be perceived this time. On a different note, I’m recently devoting increasing amounts of time reading the “Fuji Nikki,” a diary that the late Yuriko Takeda wrote in the course of thirteen years at the family’s cottage at the foot of Mount Fuji. The further I’m getting into the author’s openhearted descriptions of concrete occurrences in her daily life, the more three-dimensional the events appear to be standing out from the flat text, and once common sentiments and emotions are completely wiped away, I seem to sense the author’s body temperature along with an almost humorous touch. And all the details of the long and troublesome time, disguised as “everyday,” that she had spent waiting, take on a kind of pliantness beyond words, making for nothing more and nothing less than an extraordinary account. For myself, this is another demonstration of conclusive toughness and flexibility, as also combined in the tool that is photography.
(I think I don’t need to mention that Yuriko Takeda was the wife of the late novelist Taijun Takeda, and is the mother of photographer Hana Takeda.)
― Daido Moriyama