Behind the subtle, unexplainable, yet deeply affecting atmosphere of Daisuke Tomizawa’s photobook “Zi” lies Tomizawa’s own fascination with inexplicable senses. A year ago, his mother sent him a piece of colored paper with the Japanese symbol “字” (meaning “character; letter; written text”) on it, written by Tomizawa himself when he was still a child. Moved by the strange beauty of the sign, Tomizawa made it the keyword for this project.
In 306 photographs selected (by feeling and instinct, without being able to put the reason into words) from a total of 9000 taken over the period of a year, Tomizawa’s “Zi” builds a multifarious, unhasty, contemplative and evocative mosaic of life in momentary fragments.
“Rather than a constant rollercoaster of emotions, everyday life mostly unfolds in a weird kind of stability, a mixture of worry and being at peace. The ‘true everyday,’ really, is an endless continuation of this kind of state. That is exactly what Tomizawa captured in these photographs. There is no excessive staging, no clumsy self-expression. Just a permeating, faint, strange kind of atmosphere.”
― book designer Minori Asada about the project (translation by shashasha)
“Zi” concludes with an essay by colonial art historian Ko Huihuang about the origin of letters, differences between painting and calligraphy and modern artistic expression (text only included in Chinese and Japanese translation).