I have known Takashi-san since my Japan days, and since March 11th 2012, when the Great East Japan earthquake struck, both Takashi and I have in our own ways and through our own photography photographed the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the consequences of it for large swathes of Japan and the population. In the below video, which sadly only records the first half of the talk, we discuss our respective works and photographs.
From the Street Level Photoworks announcement of the show:
We are pleased to announce that Takashi Arai will give a slide talk on his work at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow, in association with Alternative Photography Scotland. Tokyo-based artist Takashi Arai is well-known as a unique contemporary daguerreotypist in Japan. His work is not meant to showcase the object being depicted, but instead the medium of photography itself.
Takashi Arai first encountered photography while he was a university student of biology. In an effort to trace photography to its origins, he encountered daguerreotype, and after much trial and error mastered the complex technique. Arai does not see daguerreotype as a nostalgic reproduction of a classical method; instead, he has made it his own personal medium, finding it a reliable device for storing memory that is far better for recording and transmitting interactions with his subjects than modern photography.
Beginning in 2010, when he first became interested in nuclear issues, Arai has used the daguerreotype technique to create individual records-micro-monuments-of his encounters with surviving crew members, and the salvaged hull, of the fallout-contaminated Daigo Fukuryumaru fishing boat, records that touch upon the fragmented reality of events in the past. This project led him to photograph the deeply interconnected subjects of Fukushima, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.
Arai’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions and in 2014, he received the Source-Cord Prize, sponsored by Source Magazine.