I brush aside words and ideas, and focus on photography as a means of expressing a message that is both psychological and phenomenological. Without that framework, my approach is very simple—there is no artistry. I just shoot freely. For example, most of my snapshots I take from a moving car, or while running, without the finder, and in those instances one might say that I’m taking the pictures more with my body than with my eyes.
When I take photographs, my body inevitably enters a trancelike state. Briskly weaving my way through the avenues, every cell in my body becomes as sensitive as radar, responsive to the life of the streets... If I were to give it words, I would say: “I have no choice... I have to shoot this... I can’t leave this place for another’s eyes... I have to shoot it... I have no choice.” An endless, murmuring refrain.
People steadily lose the landscapes they have accumulated. It’s not likely that anyone can faithfully recall how scenes appeared ten or twenty years ago... I think people continue to live in the present because we forget most every little thing. The remembrances that sneak up on a tired soul may sometimes stir us, but there is no tomorrow in that... Where in the world did the era beyond my memories and the people who lived in it disappear to? After time, which we can actually only see now in historical documents, there are memories we carry. After our time, what memories will be carried forth by the people who follow?
And it was on the basis of these principles that Moriyama developed his personal style, saying, "For me, capturing what I feel with my body is more important than the technicalities of photography. If the image is shaking, it's OK, if it's out of focus, it's OK. Clarity isn't what photography is about.
Photographs are pieces of the everlasting world—daily life—and fossils of light and time. They are also fragments of presentiment, inspiration, record, and memory about human beings and their history, as well as another language and world that becomes visible and intelligible through objectifying reality by means of cameras. They show us beauty and tenderness and also ugliness and cruelty now and then, not as the answer but always as a new question. I believe photographs to be pieces of an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. Which is why I have been and will be devoted to photography.