Singaporean prose and poetry writer Daryl Qilin Yam takes the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens on his trip to Japan. The result is a photo series entitled After Risaku, which showcases the writer's fondness for people's backs.
Read on and join Daryl's adventure through Japan as told by his photographs and a brief narrative for After Risaku.
I am first and foremost a writer of fiction and poetry, and so photography, I would say, is a field in which I remain an amateur. But there are several things I can’t deny: that we live in a world that loves images, and that Instagram, for several years now, has been the way I understand how best to represent the life around me in a photograph.
Several stylistic tendencies have emerged over years of photo-taking: I have a fondness for the backs of people (facial expressions are too didactic for me), and I like to frame my subjects in situations where highlights and shadows are nicely contrasted. Recent use of both a film and a digital camera has also taught me much about how certain focus levels can create “bokeh” effects – this was especially pleasing in the way it created filmic moods, as well as how it allowed shapes to be blurred to the point of abstraction. But that’s all I can say, I think, about my foray into photography; it remains awfully limited in scope and execution, especially in contrast to the works of others whom many people around the world admire. That I am all too aware.
When Lomography contacted me for this “creative collaboration”, I saw it as an opportunity to further refine whatever sense of style I have. I’ve always been chasing this feeling of the sublime – it’s part of my life’s calling, I think, to want to recreate it for others – and in turn, Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1817) is an image that I’ve been seeking to recreate over and over again. And I also remember chancing upon Risaku Suzuki’s photography at a Tokyo Opera City showcase two years ago, and I was deeply moved by how he manipulated focus to evoke a sense of intimacy and scale, all in the same frame. Two photos here, both involving flowers, are a nod to his influence over this series.
It is my hope that, with these photographs, people are allowed to feel the same sense of awe that overtook me when I returned to Japan for a two-week holiday in late February. I made a stylistic decision to fix my focus at the “INF” setting, allowing my subjects up close to be blurred against an otherwise sharp and defined background. Doing so helped me capture a sense of being dissolved into the wider world, and of being undone by the circumstantial environment that we find ourselves in; when the camera demands that we become nothing but shape and colour.
Daryl is currently working on his second novel and on gradually adding more photos to the After Risaku series. He also used the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 for this shoot.