Elephant ゾウサン by Kurama

Kurama is a discrete photographer about who we know very little. Most of the information available can be found at the end of his book : Little information is public about Kurama. During the last 20 years he has exhibited in different countries (USA, Argentina, Taiwan, France and Japan). His work is not limited to silver gelatin photography ; he has experimented with serigraphy and lithography as alternative printing methods. And that’s all !

So we can try to know him a little more through the pages of his book. What he shows us here is his eroticized way of looking at the world, at every moment, even outside any notion of intimacy. This book is his diary; he reveals his two main passions : elephants and women. These are the two recurring themes that punctuate the book; they come back again and again, like a little jingle haunting, which would have nestled in a corner of our head. And then, slowly, we understand that every image eroticises the world it represents. Sequencing is clever, it keeps us in suspense! We cross shadows of some great names of Japanese photography : Moriyama, Araki, Nakahira… and many more who have definitely influenced Kurama. From them, he certainly learned the freedom to photograph (in the meaning of writing with light to tell), this freedom in favor of a sensitive representation, the ability for a stronger narration rather than just a collection or a compilation of photographs. It also refers to this sentence from Jean-Luc Godard: It is not a just image, it is just an image (ce n’est pas une image juste, c’est juste une image, in French)! Blur or precise, dark or black, all photographs meld into an “out of time” narration. The book has no beginning, neither an end, even if, ultimately, it is an elephant who opens and closes the book.

Black and white are great, we can almost feel the grain of the baryta paper on which Kurama realizes his prints. It also reveals the wait, so proper to film photography. Lab time is a long time compared to the digital speed. The image, first developed then enlarged is only delivered to us after a long process in which excitation and relaxation blend. Instants elongate and when an image is out of focus, our mind wanders and escapes into a reverie that only the blur of inaccuracy allows. We thus interfere in the history of Kurama, we fulfill it to make it ours.

Oh, and through the pages, we will also meet an orangutan, a sort of ironic spectator of this story with a funny similarity between its exercising area made of ropes and those used in bondage practice, seen in some photographs. Finally, we kind of, come out of a dream, the interwoven pictures still resonate within us, but we struggled to reconstruct the story; we have to deal with that; we still remember, and memories are, well… a bit peculiar to photography.

Softcover book, 14,8 × 21 cm, 122 pages, black & white photos. Produced by in)(between in an edition of 100 copies.

More info : in)(between

And Josef Chladek’s virtual bookshelves

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