To a man, the women that surround him are often the most impactful, influential and important figures in his life. Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota will agree. His latest book Taratine is a visual ode to his mother and longtime girlfriend that takes the discovery of a Ginkgo tree in Aomori, Tohoku in 2007 as its jump off point.
Like Masahisa Fukase and Nobuyoshi Araki before him, Yokota explores the photographic ‘I-novel’ – a confessional style of literature popular in Japan – through a striking juxtaposition of imagery. Nudes are paired with bare landscapes, anchored by an essay penned in honour of his mother – the book is a reflection of Yokota’s differing mental landscapes. He explains, “We see moss, shells, stones, garages and many other objects adhering to the deep bottom of the river (my mind), whose area has been carved by a stream of water over many years (my memories). The nature of the river is shaped by such various memories from the past.”
Alongside his encounter with the Gingko tree, 2007 was a turning point for the photographer whose career was beginning to take shape – graduating a year later from the Nippon Photography Institute with Honours. Images taken from the trip to Tohoke are contrasted with photographs shot of his girlfriend in 2014, bridging the two milestones of his life. “The landscape work in Taratine, taken from a train window, functions as a stream of consciousness of time transit from 2007 to 2014. Taratine is just like my personal story and I, therefore, crossed over my past (2007) and present (2014) when I started selecting work for Taratine, and both time frames come together as one project,” he says. “My girlfriend has been a continuous presence in my life since we began living together as partners. I always take photographs based on my daily life. As an indispensable part of my life, my girlfriend became an important subject matter for my work. I especially have to include her images in Taratine, since it is for her in a way.”
Taratine will be available from Dashwood books soon, with a book signing taking place on 30 September, 2015 at Dashwood Books, New York. Yokota just won the shortlist of the best book prize from Paris Photo