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Japanese Photography

In Japanese, the word for photography is "shashin". It is composed of two ideograms "sha", meaning to reproduce or reflect, and "shin" meaning truth. The Greek root of the word photography means "to write with light" (graphos, to write, and photos, light). Therefore, within the Japanese mentality, the process itself consists of capturing the truth, or essence of something and "copying" it onto a surface. As a consequence, the result must always contain some element of truth. Since the advent of photography, this way of looking at things has become commonplace throughout the world, yet in few languages is it expressed with such clarity. If we start from the premise that Japanese photography is the fruit of multiple reactions, ranging from empathy to distrust, and from this process of "reproduction of truth", it is possible to better understand this astonishing diversity.

By possessing such a diversity of approaches, Japanese photographers have demonstrated that there is no "The Truth", and continue to ask the fundamental question, namely: What is it that photography can reproduce and what is it that eludes attempts at reproduction.

  • Focusing on the antagonism between truth and fiction

  • Photography is both truth and fiction.

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