A tribute to Masahisa Fukase

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I was stunned…

I was overwhelmed.

They crushed my soul ….

How can some “mere” set of pixels, combination of gray dots do such a thing! I had no idea! I just kept looking at the photographs. They more I looked, the more I saw and the emptier I felt. Fukase’s “ravens” seem to have that sublime yet strong reaction.

Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase‘s (1934-2012) book “Solitude of Ravens” is a collection of 62 black and white photographs. He started taking these photographs after he got divorced from a 12 year marriage.He was coming back to his birthplace, Hokkaido, to deal with his psychological situation. But Fukase found a subject that reflected his darkening vision, and he pursued it with obsessive relentlessness. He started photographing ravens from running trains, buses, at different stops etc.In Japanese mythology, ravens are disruptive presences and harbingers of dark and dangerous times His photographs of ravens were published as a book for the first time in 1986, photos edited by Akira Hasegawa. He says, “masahisa fukase’s work can be deemed to have reached its supreme height; it can also be said to have fallen to its greatest depth. the solitude revealed in this collection of images is sometimes so painful that we want to avert our eyes from it.” According to British Journal of Photography, his book remains the best photo-book in last 25 years (1986-2011).

He got remarried to someone else and divorced again. But he was still in ruins from his lost love. During one evening of 1992 he was too drunk, he fell down and had severe brain injury. He had been in coma for last 20 years until June 9,2012 when his body finally gave up.

During these days, Yoko, his lost love, looked after him. She says,“He remains part of my identity; that’s why I still visit him.”

Some good reads about Fukase:

claxtonprojects | reflets de lumiere | avesnoir

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