Photography

on fortune telling

The history of the world is full of prophecies and portents, but we tend to feel, especially in the West, that all this belongs to the past. In Asia, however, the occult is still invoked to explain current events at least as often as economics or, until recently, ideology. In China, in India, in Indonesia, what we call superstition is still very much part of everyday life. Astrology, chiromancy, the art of reading the future in a person’s face or the soles of his feet or the leaves in his cup, play a very substantial role in the life of the people and in public affairs, as do the practice of healers, shamans and the masters of feng-shui, the cosmic geometry. The name to give a child, the purchase of a field, the sale of a portfolio of shares, the repair of a roof, the departure or a declaration of war, are governed by criteria that have nothing to do with our logic.

Tiziano Terzani, A Fortune-Teller Told Me

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Photography

“Diz-se muitas vezes que foram os pintores que inventaram a Fotografia (transmitindo-lhe ao enquadramento, a perspectiva albertiniana, e a óptica da camera obscura). E eu digo: não, foram os químicos. Porque o noema ‘Isto foi’ só é possível a partir do dia em que uma circunstância cientifica (a descoberta da sensibilidade à luz dos sais de prata) permitiu captar e imprimir directamente os raios luminosos emitidos por um objecto diferentemente iluminado.”

A Câmara Clara | Roland Barthes

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Photography

in the solitude of ravens

© Masahisa Fukase

© Masahisa Fukase

© Masahisa Fukase

© Masahisa Fukase

© Masahisa Fukase

© Masahisa Fukase

“In The Solitude of Ravens Masahisa Fukase’s work can be deemed to have reached its supreme height; it can also be said to have fallen to its greatest depth”. So begins Akira Hasegawa’s afterword to Fukase’s The Solitude of Ravens, which was originally titled Karasu (Ravens) when it was published in Japan. There can be few photobooks sadder, lonelier, or more tragic than this sequence. Fukase had been famous for the joyous photographs he took of his wife but the marriage dissolved in 1976 and the emotions depicted in Fukase’s portfolio began to reverse direction. A despondent Fukase became infatuated with the raven of his native Hokkaido, ten years worth of photographs of these birds make up The Solitude of Ravens. Published in Japan in 1986, it was republished in the United States in 1991. Soon after, Fukase fell down a staircase after returning drunk from a night out. He has been in a coma for the last 14 years. The photobook he left behind is a triumph of photographic expressionism, a record of a man who turned inward, leaving behind pure images of personal grief.”

Source: Gallery 51

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