“That day, I had a shoot in the afternoon.
I knew it was going to be the day that my father would die.
When I woke up, the sky was blue beyond belief, and almost too beautiful.
If he has to go away, it should be on a day like today, I thought.”
The photographs in Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa’s “The Days Were Beautiful” were shot in the year and a half between her father’s hospitalization and his death. Though usually known for her bold, colorful photographic compositions, here Ninagawa reveals a much lighter, more poetic side of her work.
Despite her constant sadness and anxiety, she photographed life everywhere she looked: in the blue of the sky, in the scent of the wind, in the budding new leaves on the trees. In each photograph, it is as if the gaze of the father about to leave this beautiful world is superimposed on the gaze of the daughter who would inherited life from him.
Throughout the book, poetic notes and diary-like entries by Ninagawa provide further context and reveal another layer of her pain and anxiety.