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I know nothing about Japan. Even though, like everyone else, I have seen the familiar images of some exotic distant land, subjected to the avalanche of photos that make their way to us—almost through us—, and which are entirely a product of our Western culture. This tradition encourages us to perceive the ‘other’, the foreigner, solely in terms of our own values, and create yet more fictional narcissism. Accepting the absence of signifiers implies, to quote Roland Barthes, resigning oneself to the ‘emptiness of language’, and being content to simply allow oneself to be ‘imprinted’—as one might also say about photographic film—by the experience of the unknown.
This was the approach adopted by Michel Mazzoni during his three successive trips to the land of the rising sun. He did not set out to collect signs or interpret them via predefined criteria, but rather, on the contrary, the photographer adopted a spirit of openness, perfectly aligned with the sensitive and unstable nature of his chosen medium. A dazzling, even blinding, effect characterizes some of these images, in a series of transpositions that evokes the physical and psychic state of the traveler experiencing the secondary effects of jet lag.
Edition of 350 copies with laid-in poster. Signed copy.
A beautifully delicate book. Recommended.