For some time I’ve been looking for a photographic subject to succeed haikyo. Haikyo was great, and doubtless still can be, though my passion for it has flagged in the last year or so. So, what would come next?
For a while (years ago) I walked around Tokyo taking photos of architecture, people, traditional culture, and whatnot. I also took pictures of funny products (all the flavors of Kit Kat and Pepsi) and Japangrish, but neither of those really excite me much.
So, what next? I want something that subverts normal life, that is surreal and unusual in the same kind of way that haikyo/ruins are, perhaps even including a component of exploration. It’s hard to find anything like that already existing though, without first becoming an artist and making it myself, and since I have no real artistic skill, that rather rules that out.
So, what? Well, I surfed the internet for a few weeks, looking for inspiration, but nothing much captured my imagination, until I came across a chap called Slinkachu, and his on-street exhibitions of ‘Little People‘.
They look good. I won’t reproduce them here for copyright reasons, but you can go see his site- they’re pretty awesome. And perhaps something I can get excited about doing myself. I don’t compare what I’ve done to his work, it’s really a new thing for me and who knows if I’ll do it more than a few times.
Anyway, here’s a first effort, taken in one of the graveyards near my house.
A little background to this- it’s customary for Japanese to hold memorial services for the dead long after the ashes are interred. There are differences on the way to space these services/gatherings, but they all encompass a wide range, from the first few days, the 30th, up to the 100th day, then the 1st year, 3rd year, 5th, 7th, up to the 39th, 50th, and so on.
This little lady is on her 100th day. She’s standing on a stone lantern, which are common in both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.