Week 6 Contextual Research.

This week I took a look at the work photo editor Akira Hasegawa. He edited the work of Masahisa Fukase’s  “Solitude of Ravens.”  I really liked Fukase’s images. Dirty, grainy, soft focus. The images evoked pleasure in me. I like that he had an emotional attachment to ravens and what that means in Japanese culture. That emotional link is what I look for in my work. I have achieved it with a single image, but this module, I have been able to achieve that in a series.

Back to Akira. When Anna told me to look at the work of Masahisa, I was a little reluctant, but decided on this MA that everything I resist, for what ever reason, I will turn around and embrace, no matter how hard it is. So, I did it went on line and looked at “Ravens”  the dirty, non technical images spoke to me, I really liked them, but what bothered me was: Oh well, it’s just gonna be another boring series on ravens. We have em here in California (Blackbirds, and they mean son of a bitches) However, when I looked at the series, I saw they were punctuated every 4 images or so with an image that was not Ravenesk.  His fat wife rolling on the bed. Three girls at the beach with their hair blowing in their faces, and ocean shot. I thought, wait a minute, what’s going on here? As I looked at the images I suddenly felt that the period (full stop fro the Brits) kind of gave me a breather, before moving on to the next set of Ravens. I really was impressed by this, and knew that no photographer is that smart…

I could barely read the afterward in the book but managed to discover who Akira Hasegawa is from an internet search. I figured he was the brains behind the editing. I pulled up an article on him and liked what I read off the bat. “Photo Editor Akira Hasegawa on self-expression, photo manipulation and fake photos.”

This immediately grabbed my attention, here is an old school dude, working through the ranks of time… seen it ALL!  Now in retirement, it just made me realize that one cannot go it alone, a good editor can save a bad story and create a good one from images. (I had that happen once, where I sent the local newspaper a photograph, and the editor cropped it, and made a whole story out of it) Front Page.

With that said, I think it is Akira’s editing that finally pulled me off the fence into the Japanese photography camp. Anna said they are very poetic in their style, without poetry an image becomes just another image. and I have plenty of those.


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