The sound of acorns falling in the wind
Yukio Ninagawa Director (theatre)
I don’t mind being photographed, but I don’t like looking at photographs of myself. It’s most likely to do with the way I process feelings of shame. I wonder how photographers who take portraits of themselves work through their own self-consciousness.
Self-portraits taken by Mika Ninagawa don’t betray many traces of such conflict. When photographers take portraits of themselves, it’s natural that they should be aware of the self that photographs and the self that is being photographed. And yet, it’s also true that viewers are shouldered with a kind of weight when they look into a photograph and discover a fight in which the photographer is wrestling with self-awareness.
I’m somewhat relieved that Mika Ninagawa’s work doesn’t make me feel the burden of those struggles.
I close off my heart in a hurry when it tries to learn the meaning behind Ninagawa’s gaze, which peers out from the depths of a dark gradation dampened by shadow. It stands to reason: who would want to see the internal life of their daughter, pierced through? That is something that I fear, something from which I run. Instead, I recognize her intuition and the caliber of her ability to choose among fractions of a second. It might also be a biological impulse or reflex that allows her to decide on the exact moment to press the shutter button. I think it’s safe to say that her talent approaches a natural, animal instinct.
I don’t like loose photography. My pleasure resides in moments of held breath. Drama, where I’ve found my occupation, is also a succession of those tense, fleeting instants, and that’s probably why I have no patience for loose or relaxed work. No doubt some will think this repugnant, but that’s not something I can help. People reveal their essence in the way they accept the world and how they attempt to reconcile themselves with it.
This year, the acorns falling in the wind are making a racket. They make a noise when they hit the balcony or the dead leaves in the yard. I find this a little irritating. I close the pages of a galley proof for Mika Ninagawa’s Self-image. Swaying in the wind in one corner of the yard are the bars and swing-set with which Mika used to play when she was little. I try to push my child’s internal world and bodily flesh gently into the distant background.