“A pandemic of the Coronavirus envelopes over 100 countries in the world. “
Dug out old photographs from storage and decided to hang some on the landing wall, and discovered this picture I took back in 2001 when I visited Vietnam for the first time. I still could recall the moment, we were on the way back to Noi Bai airport in a taxi and the weather was grey and wet. We passed by miles and miles of rice fields and swampy land, and the highway was practically empty. Huge billboards were spaced out evenly along the road advertising face creams and cigarettes, but this one in the picture was bare. The image shows four locals on their bicycles pedalling alongside the hard shoulder of the highway, in their typical conical hats, possibly going to the local market. I really liked the mood and moment of this picture, hence I printed it right away when I got home.
Road to Noi Bai, Vietnam 2001, 40cm x 50cm hand printed, vintage print, edition 10
St. Martha, Patron Saint of Avignon, Avignon Cathedral (above)
St.Mary Magdelene, Sweet Advocate, Avignon Cathedral
In 2019, I acquired two photography books directly from the photographers, which I seldom do nowadays due simply to the lack of shelve space. Each book is produced in different parts of the world : the first in Japan, exquisitely self printed and hand bound, with special paper and a gold and black patterned hard cover, with only 66 copies produced. The photographer, Noriko Takasugi has titled her object as ‘Fukushima Samurai, The Story of Identity’ and has painstakingly assembled over 100 of her photographs together to commemorate the ancient traditions of the modern samurai following the radiation-hit region of Fukushima Prefecture in 2011, more specifically, in Minamisoma City.
The second acquisition was at Lucca, Italy, where I was reviewing portfolios at the Photolux Festival. Catalina Isabel Nucera is an accomplished photographer and aide worker who spent many years in the Belarus city of Kirov, less than 100 kms from Chernobyl. She has produced a book titled The Village, which has a fluorescent pink screen-printed cover and a collection of found images and her photographs of Soviet-era estates, interiors, and public spaces of Kirov, interspersed with local families living there and found vintage photographs school children, playgrounds and factory workers.
Both books hold a unique shared perspective – that is, the compelling visual references by the photographers to record and document, and hence to archive, the post-destruction and recovery aspects following similar disasters, 25 years apart, nuclear fallouts that completely wiped out the populations of these cities through evacuation and radiation illness.
It is interesting for me to compare their approaches and note the differences in the processes and portrayal of the recoveries in two very different regions of the world, between two different cultural backgrounds and practices. Noriko’s contemporary portraits of modern samurais posing in front of their cherished landscapes in full costumes, shows determination and stoicism, is typical of the Japanese persona. Catalina’s less formal style, often sharply observed and casually composed is less, but nevertheless affords the viewer a realistic glimpse of what life was really like in a typical city in the 80s in the Soviet Union.
For more information :
Noriko Takasugi – Fukushima Samurai
Catalina Isabel Nucera – The Village
I’ll end this year’s postings with an image from my Shibuya 2017 project. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020 New Year to come!
Photography For All.
This is a typical London cafe in the West End. Serving sandwiches for the office workers, and bland fast food for tourists. The pre-heat food culture.
We stayed at a lovely B&B run by Lorenza Paris in Trento for 3 days. Every morning at 9:00 am sharp, she will bring over breakfast on a wooden tray. 3 types of cheeses, ham slices, scrambled eggs, crusty bread rolls, Nutella spread, jam, butter, orange juice, and coffee.
On the 4th day of our roadtrip , we took a detour north from Tuscany to the city of Trento in the Trentino Alto Adige region, a 4 hour drive, to visit Saveria, a friend’s mother. Saveria laid the perfect lunch for us in her apartment where she lives alone – lasagne, beef carpaccio, cheese, sauerkraut, tiramisu – all homemade of course.
We were joined by Saveria’s daughter Simonetta and her twin girls – Lalita and Nilam, 14 who are great athletes in track and field.
Fiera Antiquaria, Arezzo, Tuscany