KT: How did you get into photography? We read that you were initially interested in criminal psychology.
HT: I am always interested in crimes and incidents that occur in our daily lives. Murders, kidnappings, and suicides all represent a distortion within society, and this often leads me to think about the relationship between the abnormality of the society and individual personalities.
Through this thought process, it sheds light on where my character lies between normal and abnormal – which I believe becomes clearer through photography.
I also have a deep interest in the field of criminal psychology and profiling and used to watch movies and novels of the sort. I am attracted to the eloquence that crime scenes and evidence carry within them. For instance, a crime scene can lead to insight that includes a suspect’s personality, background, lifestyle. I believe that photography is similar to criminal profiling, where each image represents a proof of the world as it existed. However, photographs can also show the world that goes against our preconceptions of the world that I thought I captured. There is always a mysterious distance and a gap that I am drawn to, which is why I would like to continue photography.
KT: Your photography defines the fetish of elements, texture, and touch. How did you build such a fascination?
HT: I think photography encompasses far more possibilities through textures. I often reflect on the relationship between flatness and physicality when combining the materiality of the medium/object with original raw materials like paper and acrylic when developing a piece of work. For me, concrete and stones are quite fitting when I encounter such thoughts.
For example, concrete is commonly used for buildings and walls and is made of rocks and sand. Most of the time, similar in visuals and texture as well. However, when I see destroyed concrete in scenes of everyday life, it forces me to be aware of concrete as a medium. It loses its context the moment it is destroyed but makes its way back into context through the process of reproduction. Concrete contains a compilation of time and physical activity as well as reproduction as their characteristics. I try to layer these interpretations through my works both contextually and physically.
KT: You have published many great and unique books like ‘A Rock of The Moon,’ ‘Etude Series,’ ‘Mass’ and many others. What do you like about photography in a book-format?
HT: I find it interesting, to treat a book as another derivative of artistic expressions, as with sculptures or installations. However, books are far more physical and involve the interaction with the skin. I always have an intense focus on what kind of materials I use for the images, as well as the type of paper. I am always keen on how a book can evoke a similar experience to what a sculpture or installation can bring upon a viewer.
KT: Your photography projects explore the boundary of image-making, sometimes almost like a sculpture. How do you select your subject for your projects?
HT: It depends on the project but usually starts by taking snapshots. Sometimes these pictures are collectively made into work, helps develop a piece of work, or does a project further.
Through the pictures, I try to analyze what it is that I am interested or perceiving. In the later stages, I think about the approach on how work should be represented. Sometimes, it is just a collection of my snapshots and what I perceived bundled together if it works this way, but sometimes I find that a sculptural approach is another tool to show that the context of a work modifies itself as it challenges the viewers’ perception. It evokes tension between flatness and materiality of a photograph, as well as fiction and reality.
KT: You represent the new generation of Japanese photography that is not very traditional in its form and aesthetics. What do you want to achieve with your photography?
HT: As an artist, I think that the modern Japanese photography “Boom” brings opportunities to artists to gain exposure overseas. However, there is often a time where I question myself as this appreciation is based on a Western contextualization of Japanese photography. This appreciation is entirely different to how Japanese contextualize and curate works. I sometimes worry if this “boom” is simply a trend based on various conceptualization, and the artwork does not carry the weight as an actual product of the culture. Nevertheless, I think this is a natural phenomenon as art between cultures will continuously intertwine, and nationality will become less and less a classification of a certain field of photography.
With this, in the future, I think that artists will actively be viewed and evaluated upon their individualistic styles. This perception is important to me, as it forces me to continue pursuing a style that is unique. Self-publishing and collaboration works are ways to contextualize individualistic styles.