I have nothing to say. There's no particular message in my photos. The messages come from my subjects, men or women. The subjects will convey what there is to say. I have things to photograph, so I've nothing to express. Right now, I’m showing my enjoyment of life rather than the sadness of death. Some people I know say that life is sad. But today I think the opposite. Death is sadder.
I am not saying these are true photographs because I shot my own honeymoon! It is simply that I have made love my starting point as a photographer, beginning by chance with an I-novel. Although in my case, I think everything will be an I-novel. This is because I think the I-novel is [the genre] closest to photography.
Basically, I have never been interested in tying up the body of a model. What I was aiming at was the female heart. That was what I wanted to lay in chains. In the course of time, if I can put it this way, the models have tied themselves up, have bound themselves to me... I work using my entire bodily presence. I reproduce in my photos the space and the time between my models and myself.
Sentiment, sentiment, sentiment, sentiment. Pressing the shutter release is like holding your breath for a second. But not to the point of killing yourself, thank you. It’s just a state of suspended emotion. I just stop breathing during that moment. And when I see the images, I come back to life. It’s like rising from the dead. But it’s also fireworks. Disappearing in a flash, like fireworks. A love of fireworks is equally sentimental.
Happiness always contains a mixture of something like unhappiness. When I photograph unhappiness I only capture unhappiness, but when I photograph happiness, life, death, and everything else comes through. Unhappiness seems grave and heavy; happiness is light, but happiness has its own heaviness, a looming sense of death.
Actually, these days my work is focusing on Japanese people’s faces. I recently photographed a thousand faces in Osaka and I would like to do the same in every prefecture. This project might take me ten years. There is something that I am looking for by taking these photos. The human face represents all aspects of sexuality and each one expresses it a bit differently.
While it’s all well and good to take advantage of what digital has to offer it's crucial to not neglect those things that are absolutely essential to all photography. I mean, unflinchingly photographing the most personal subjects. Men photograph women. Women photograph men. It’s not just taking pictures of things like the sky and city streets that a photographer thinks are neat. Take the love out and it means nothing. There's an aspect of photography that has nothing to do with whether a photo is shot with digital or conventional techniques, and the photographer must consider it.
If I hadn’t documented [my wife’s] death, both the description of my state of mind and my declaration of love would have been incomplete. I found consolation in unmasking lust and loss, by staging a bitter confrontation between symbols. After Yoko’s death, I didn’t want to photograph anything but life—honestly. Yet every time I pressed the button, I ended up close to death, because to photograph is to stop time. I want to tell you something, listen closely: photography is murder.