Another look: Keiichi Tahara touches the light By Sihame Bouhout
Another look: Keiichi Tahara touches the light. "The Light of Japan, is always veiled, has nothing in common with the one in France, very sharp and piercing. And the nature of light, I am sure, have an impact on the landscape, people and even the language that we speak. "
When you are born in a city you are used to seeing things a certain way, and you always expect the same things, like an old married couple. Everything becomes so familiar that many details escape your notice. Everything becomes ordinary and you will need other eyes to see the extraordinary.
Those precious details are often better seen by a guest in your city, a guest that will open your eyes to a complete and different perspective. He will make the city his and will take you on his own very personal tour.
For Japanese photographer Keiichi Tahara, who has long lived in France, chasing the light is in the center of his artistic work, since the 1970s. The European Museum of Photography in Paris (the MEP) held a retrospective in four large series of his photographs.
Art has this incomparable ability to make you dream, enter a universe and start to recreate yours indefinitely. His work invites us to dream. Keiichi Tahara’s dream became reality, and he would catch the light: "What I wanted was to hold it firmly in my hand," he says evoking his childhood.
It is his grandfather, the photographer Yoshitaro Miyagawa offered him his first Asahi Pentax in 1965 and taught him to use it. Keiichi Tahara was only 14 years old. But it was in Paris that he decided to become a photographer, Paris, where he arrived almost by chance in 1972 with a young theater company and he decided to stay, instead of going on a European tour with the troupe.
It is very interesting that Keiichi makes an analogy between the light of a city and the language, people speak. Because, in fact, the young Japanese man did not speak much French. As a consequence it would isolate him, and what seemed colorless will lead him to an amazing work. Locked in his small room, an attic, facing the window frames. "I photographed the windows of my apartment like I was trying to establish and affirm the existence of my ‘me.’"
“Windows,” which he will create between 1974 and 1983, began first as a series of works in black and white. What attracts him is the light that he will capture, to find a way to make the light become an organic material. Looking through this window will be his way to communicate with the world. He will change apartments many times but the window will be his companion all the way, offering a perpetually new scene.
The light does not reveal the object, it is the object, an object of desire and an object of study,which requires its own specific language. He invites us to investigate the shape of the light, not the light from an object.