Work Explanation

“Why do you take photos like these?” people often ask me.
Such a question gains if they happen to visit my exhibition with no information about my works. My Works are seemed people died in the photographs. At the moment people look at them, most of people are away from them, some people are so interested in them. The number of some people is not so much. So I want to tell the aim of this works as collect as I can to fill out their interest and curiosity.

Then I always try to tell the explanation politely in the correct order I think it is best. So I tell you this explanation as I always do.
Before I tell that, I want you to understand this project has been in progress until now, so only 43 sets are in this eBook. And this project will be complete with one hundred set of works. I’m glad if you’ll wait the day this project is complete.(I am planning it will come in 2014.)

There are four points in this explanation.
Point 1. If the premise of photography is capturing something unusual in usual life, I wanted to capture extremes of something unusual in usual life. That extreme is the death for me.

Point 2. There are some methods for capturing the death; I choose the “Fake corpse” photograph. “Fake corpse” is not minor method of photograph, and then I have to think how to get the originality of my work.

Point 3. One day I awake that “Fake corpse” photography is the best way for expression of my consciousness against the society problem. I thought this project might be significant for me and some people.

Point 4. In the process of making my works, a lot of people€ got interested in “Fake corpse” photographs. At the same time, I found some good effect of models captured as “Fake corpse”. Therefore these facts encouraged me for continuing this project until now.

Now, I tell you each point explanation, but each of them is some long. Then telling what is the “No Reason” project in short: “No Reason” is the fiction weaving various problems in the contemporary Japanese society with the lack of nervous senses about “life and death”.
So, let me start explanation of four points.



About Point 1.

I think it goes without saying. At the moment feeling deep impression to record it or to tell it others, people capture the objects: the flowers beside the road, the amazing sunset or scenery, and so on. As You know, the main function of photograph is the recording. In fact, most of photograph is a record of unusual in the usual days.

I did so for a few years, and then I got no satisfaction. So, I tried to capture more unusual photograph, but halfway unusual photographs did not satisfy me.
Finally, I decided to capture extremes of something unusual in usual life. That extreme is the death for me. It is the death not of animals or of plants, but of people.

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About Point 2.

I have to tell you there are some methods for capturing the death and “Fake corpse”, even if you may know that or not. Sorry for long description, please read through.

2-1) What’s “Fake corpse photography”?

I imagine many people feel bad or have a question “What’s fake corpse photography” at looking the words or nuance of “Fake corpse” in this explanation.
At first, “Fake” means the object I shoot is not strictly “corpse” in the medical science. There are different from “fake corpse photography” and “corpse photography”. The former is shooting living human enrolled the dead. The latter is shooting the dead human in the medical science.
So these are separated in the different category because the physical and medical properties are different and the process of shooting is also different.
In addition, the first “Fake corpse photography” is very old in the short history of photography (It’s sure the category of “Fake corpse” didn’t exist in that days). Hippolyte Bayard (20 January 1807 – 14 May 1887) took Self Portrait as a Drowned dead man for the purpose of against to the injustice of French Academy of Sciences. He was defeated at the competition of Development of chemical photography in the former 19th century. This photograph is well known as not only the first “Fake corpse photography” but also the staged photograph appeared in the public.
The Film in the early days was very low sensitive, therefore to get moderate exposure; the models had to freeze in front of the camera for a long time. What’s the feeling of Hippolyte Bayard freezing and depressing the anger?
In the 1970’s, Cindy Sherman, one of the very famous photographer in the world, is producing self-portrait. One of the well-known works is she took “Fake corpse” self-portrait in the theme of “Does woman retrieve from she is the women when she die?”
In Japan, Kaoru Ijima (he is well known as fashion photographer) also took “fake corpse”: the great work is “Landscapes with a Corpse”. He achieves the very high grade fusion of the actress-ism and commercialism and Artism.

In each works, they must be concerned with the theme of death. But the models in the “fake corpse photography” is living both before and after shooting, it’s true.

2-2) Why I take the “Fake corpse photography” ?

Why I choose the “fake corpse” not “corpse”?
The Reason why my purpose is not shooting and exhibiting the corpse.
As I’ll explain that in the chapter 3, I want to express the theme of each “Fake corpse” clearly, so I want to set up the shooting place, scene, and circumstances. In that point, “Fake corpse” is better shooting object than “corpse” for me.

In the honesty, I have to explain more detail about “corpse photography”. But I have lack of the experience and knowledge about that, so I’m sorry that I shall not explain in this explanation. However, I tell you only that I think “corpse photography” is very significant in the medical science and art.

Notice about “Corpse Photography”
Joel-Peter Witkin is a man of famous in “Corpse Photography”.
More in Catholic Area, soon from invent of photography, “postmoterm photography” stayed in fashion. It was the record of “portrait of the dead people” as they were truely exists in this world.
“SLEEPING BEAUTY: Memorial Photography in America” is the precious work existing still now. It is the aggregation of “postmoterm photography” in the United States from a half of 19th century to the beginning of 20th.
Nowadays in Japan, Kiyotaka Tsurisaki is very famous as the Corpse Photographer.

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About Point 3 .

As I say former, “Fake corpse” photography is not rare. Although there are a lot of the great “Fake corpse photography” work. Why do I take “Fake corpse photography” now?
The reason why is connected in my mind with my doubt for myself existing from now instead of having wish to die sometimes, my conscious about the contemporary Japanese society that may people suicide and indiscriminate mass murders take place again, and “Fake corpse photography” is the best way for the death expression as my motif.

In fact, I was not interested in the horror movies fulfilled with bloods, and avoided them before I started this work. But I awake that it is impossible to express the death with no blood expression. Still now I wonder that I had no doubt and no surprise in my mind.
The reason why I choose the death as my work’s motif is I felt Japan has many problems in the daily life which are hide by the bias as taboo and “Kotonakare-ism (principle of peace-at-any-price)” or by info-communication gravitated towards commercialism.
They are tacit understanding in the contemporary society, nevertheless over 30 thousand people suicide every year and indiscriminate mass murders take place again and again in Japan.

Professor Kiyokazu Washida, very famous and great philosopher in Japan, said in his work “The reason why we do not die” that we have out-sourced various job in the daily life and come to depend on them for the Japanese economy grows. The rate of the people died at their own home decreases and become less than 1 percent in 2003(I’m sorry the data is so old, but I can’t find more recent data).
That is to say dying people have no right to choice where they die, and the people around them have no chance at the death moment beside dying people. Nothing to say, it is not only about the death moment. Everywhere in the post-modern society, the self-control function are lost at the home, at the regional community, therefore Japanese society is called “Muen-shakai(No-Relationship society)”. People have the right choice though, a vague uneasiness possess them , therefore they try to make their risk more and more lower€ as possible as they can.

They can feel a little reality of life and a little reality of death because they don’t have happened dying people.
What in the world is such a society we want?

No. I do not want such a society.
So the aim of this work is to give my work’s audiences the chance of review their each situation about life and death by appearing many problems in Japan we do not look away now or Japanese society will not recover itself.

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About Point 4.

As for the models in this work, their position and their age are various. In the early times I offered the models few times, but now many people models offer me to shoot them in spite of I do not offer. It is very happy for me as a photographer. I know that it’s not only my efforts, announces of exhibition, making a lot of works and publishing the photo book “No Reason” by myself, but also the models and my work’s audiences tell my works their friends. I truly appreciate that.
Therefore I don’t decline the entry of models in the case they have the significant problem or situations.

So I communicate models many times by e-mail or by meeting, about “What the hell do you entry the photograph model of fake corpse?” and “How do you want to die as the fake corps?” That is often like counseling about the models mental condition.
This work’s models are various, experienced the attempted suicide, experienced cutting their own wrist or arms, have the depression, have the schizophrenia, the medicine addicted, have a mood going die forcedly, and so on. It’s sure that there are many models not having the mental disease.
In this way, I heard model’s wish (when, where, how they want to die), then I create wish as the fake corpse in real and capture it. Therefore the model become to be feeling€ of accomplish their wish and they can see themselves in an objective point of view even though it is a fake. I don’t know obviously why, maybe models do that, they fulfill their wish to die in a time, then it is found that the wish to die became reduced. I think a some effect by the fake corpse photography.
In fact, models say “I feel so flesh!”” I have a lot of fun!””Make me the fake corpse again and capture it!” These positive reactions are my big motivation to continue this project.

In other way, many people find my work by search engine and are interested in it. Most of them can catch and action for the sense of life and death. I feel they have the sense of their own life and death screened by atmosphere of the contemporary society in Japan.
Now is a time called “Time of vacant” or ” No-relationship society”. But I couldn’t feel the sense as real in my high school days-about 20 year ago.
As possible as I can feel it, I want to continue this project and exhibit fake corpse photographs as “No Reason”.

Thanks for your reading to the end of this long description.
May have healthy life and calm life and death with you.

June 2011
Masashi Furuka

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