"Art" is now dead language on the street.
Actually, today, we cannot get the point service with my card in my wallet by touching "art".
Touching "art" does not deduct my tax.
You can promote even though you know nothing about "art".
Yes, in today's world, it is not strange that "art" may have been dead.
First time I saw his photo album "Yubari" was at my friend's house.
"Yubari" is the town in the middle of Hokkaido, once-flourishing with coal pit.
The person I introduce today has lived in "Yubari" for about 18 years and drunk everyday.
Coal pit remains, as a photogenic object, is very attractive since anyone can easily express the message thorough the photo. He's got bored to take those easy photos, his camera went to pawnbroker, exchanged to the alcohol...
However, later on, he has decided to take the picture of "Yubari", his most familiar object, for real for some reason.
Photo album "Yubari" published in 2005 was the summary of those works.
Tell you the truth, I have no favor or knowledge about the photos but I was so moved by the pictures printed in that photo album as I saw at my friend's house. The winter scene of "Yubari" were quiet and still. I have looked up his name "Kensuke Kazama" after that.
Luckily, he was running his own website, from what I learned, he goes the certain park every day (out of service now) and selling his print @1000 yen. Photographer gave up his camera for drink is unique, furthermore, photographer earn his life by selling his print at park is quite unique, too.
In his website, he talks about his days at the park, thoughts, point of view and little disclosure and they are all so fancy and unique. I've got really involved into his personality. So to say I am interested in the person "Kensuke Kazama" rather than photographer "Kensuke Kazama" now.
To begin with, photographer Kensuke Kazama is already very famous in the scene of photograph in Japan. He received 2 big awards in 2006 as a photographer.
I really need to listen to his story face to face.
I went to the park and asked for the interview.
He said, "For sure, but I've got no money though."
His answer was also unique, too.
What impressed me the most is not only the uniqueness of his expression, his thoughts but all those his attitude is very stiff, simple and easy for anyone to understand.The reason why is he simply express the things based on what he thinks, what he experienced. Needless to say, those his words carry lots of weights. I admire this type of person, no matter he is big drinker and lush...
"Why don't we start photograph?"
This is the message he express on his website.
He loves photograph and he loves art very much.
With this time depth, I will be trying to describe his attraction as comprehensive as possible. Little aside, soon after he has move from Yubari to Tokyo, it became bankrupt. Literally, city has bankrupt.
It has been known that Yubari city is going to bankrupt from 20 years ago and he has been consciously related to the matter and acting. Now, even outside of the photograph world, his words gathers attention. His words, carrying weights. His story has started from his high-school student days when he was self-producing the music record. Again, it was very unique starter.
* Do you still like music? "Yes, I do, I mean I have the most attention to the music till today."
*So why did you start photograph at the same time you like music a lot? "Ordinary high-school students got to like either guitar, motorcycle or camera. For me it was a camera."
In contrast to most of younger people might get tired with what they choose during their age, he kept taking photos even after he graduated high-school.
During that time, there was a big student movement in the music scene of Japan and he shoot those musicians.
Then, again, he published his photo album by himself. He was 20 years old at that time.
"That photo album received certain recognitions but I do not know why, I just lost my interests to take photos.. I literally did not take any photos for a year."
"Then, I made up my mind. I have decided to take photos only for my works for good and live a life."
To add some sense for the people who are not familiar with the photographs, including me, there are 2 types of people who take photos for their earnings.
One is people who treat photograph as a professional, called "Camera Man".
The other is people who treat photograph as mean of expression, "photographer".
Quite obviously, he have decided to take latter, and we all know that way is not that easy.
"So, I thought I should find my own works. I have packed some alcohol, blanket, fishing rod (this is to secure my food) into my small one-boxed car and drove to the seacoast in Japan."
This is truly the outdoor life!! I also find he is a man of action from long time ago.
Our conversation went on like "how to secure the water enough to survive a day by using a plastic paper", such as REAL survival tips....
"You know, I am not scared of the earthquake in Tokyo."
Let me go back to the original story here.....
"However, to tell you the truth, at that time, it was not easy for the countryside young people to get into Tokyo."
*So, were you conscious about Tokyo or photograph scene in Tokyo? "Well, no. Not at all. I sometimes went to the art galley but seldom looked photos. They were just boring to me. What I enjoyed was modern art, pottery and some writings. All those traditional things."
"I love art."
And his journey end at settled in Hokkaido.
I asked why he chose Hokkaido.
"I was tricked by an article of BE-PAL(One of the famous outdoor lifestyle magazine). It said the life in Hokkaido is super.
Well, I am kidding but even at that time, beautiful nature in Japan were begun to wiped out.
* Did you find nice-outdoor -life in Hokkaido? "That was awesome, haha. I have once gone thru the whole winter without stove. There was no window with my house and I have covered them with plastic paper. You know what, detergent at the kitchen got frozen. Surely all the eggs do. Vegetables, they got white out within an hour. In winter, outside is warmer than inside of the house.
This was more than out-door-life!"
Without stove under the minus 20 degree temperature!? without the window glass?? I cannot believe as I personally know how cold it is. Is that some kind of training?
"The reason why is I simply choose alcohol than oil." (What a heck was he doing?)
"And I've got troubled with sneak thief. As a measure to prevent them, I have modified my room to the gallery. There was no one bad who visit to see the photographs."
* Why did you stick to stay at Yubari under that condition, was there any merit to stay there? "Merit and demerit is always like two sides of the same coin. Mobius strip. Some people say I could stand out because I was in Yubari, others say if I were in Tokyo, In could make bigger success."
* OK, but you have enjoyed your outdoor-life such a long time. "Yep, 'cuz I had no money to move. Since I had a trouble with sneak thief, I could not leave the room open to go out and work."
"Though I was originally born in Mie prefecture, I am Japanese more than that. So it is quite natural for me to try to do something for yubari-city while it is under the serious situation. I just tried to help it out. That is one of the reason why I sticked to live in yubari. But I also know to live and to support is different. I liked to move out from the city even earlier time."
* What mede you possible to leave from yubari? "At the time "Yubari" photo album was published, I received certain amount of guarantee from graph magazine. I also borrowed some money and put them together for my relocation.
* What was your feeling? "Well, I felt like I could finally become free. As I was some kind of famous person in Yubari for the coal pit photograph, there were some strange people come to me. Like ruin anorak. I myself has no interest in ruins. I only have interest how to make the use of it. So, to get rid of those people was one good thing for me."
* So finally, you have arrived at Tokyo. Did you imagine the life to come to the park and sell the photos @1000yen every day? Surely I did, that was my original plan. To sell and buy the print is not popular in Japan yet. I have expected to set that culture in Japan, 1000 yen is not that expensive, anyone can afford to. I know other photographers speak ill of my by doing this. This is breaking the market price. I am proud to be recognized but I also like the way to sell the 10,000 yen photo to 10 people rather than sell the 100,000 yen photo to single person."
"Also, since no one have ever done it before. I was expecting to make the break-thru."
This was the message that I was impressed the most by him.
So to say, there were few people who act upon their simple idea. I believe same as at the center of this world. For example, there was a musician writing in his article, "In the end, the purpose to publish the music CD to the world continuously is to continuously produce the jobs for the people visiting recording production."
I know this is not the case for him but what I like to emphasis here is there are too many things occurring at outside of the nature of them.
What is the nature of art? I may never know but this is such a sweet invention that art (or artist) and people who enjoy them are simply connected, I mean those 2 central players, and provide the benefit for both of them.
There is no space other than its nature to get involved. Artist provide what they have created and many people could enjoy them casually.
Seems like his idea's point of view are always not for his own sake but for something broad.
Does he take pictures for himself, Mr,Kazama or moreover...?
"Well it could be neither of them. If I aimed only one of them, I could not have kept doing that. What if I truly do it for someone else, or for the art itself, I could find other way to make them happy. In the end, I could do this because I am not clever. I believe this is something I need to do and therefore I believe in myself, try the best as much as I could do."
In real, the park has no more allow Kazama-san to sell the photographs during the week day. It will be managed by government and he could only do it during the weekend under the license of government.
This interview was held right after this policy changes and he was so confused by this fact.
We are not sure about the background reason but some people had caused some troubles due to lack of the morality.
"It is simply glad that someone like aged woman who has no interest to the picture could enjoy my photos. I should be honored by more people, you know, laughing out loud."
"I got some fellows at the park, I do wish to keep doing this but only during the weekend, it may have rainy day....probably 5 days for a month?? This would mean totally different. To do it on weekday means I have more chance to show my pictures to variety of people, only 5 days is not enough for me to speak loud like "I am selling my photos at the park". It could not be an activity...I am not excited about it..."
"Last year, I received some awards, my surroundings say thai I am in a good shape but this year, I am in a trouble from the beginning...
Well, I know that I cannot be depressed all the time. I have tons of my drawer. I will think of the things and rest my body."
His health condition is not good recently. He says he did to much while in Yubari but that prevent him from acting with his own speed and area.
However, his days in Tokyo has just begun. I know things are just about to happen around him.
I believe Kazama-san could do a lot even under this condition and his stubborn spirit is much more than I could imagine.
Actually, he did go to the bookstore to do some publisher researches on that day.
"I am not that clever,,,I cannot live wise. I am man of slow pace."
This is the word he stated several times during the interview.
I cannot either affirm or deny his attitude but life like he read, one by one, step by step, not against his own length of the stride, gripping each step, is something that only man of prepared could read.
Isn't that nice and beautiful?? I bet he may find difficulty to meet with the woman he could marry.
We talked a lot and we are enough drunk.
He said "OK, let's finish it up. We talked too much complicated tonight." and begun to feed the goldfish.
Right, in front of us, there was a goldfish bowl and we have talked by looking at it.
I was amazed to see his eyes are extremely gentle while he is feeding his goldfish.
And when it comes to about the gold fish, his tone of the voice has changed completely.