Manabu Yamanaka II.

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I previously posted Yamanaka’s Gyahtei series here, promising to share more later on. I’m now making good on that promise. Below I’ve included some of the artist’s own words, as his translations are engaging and kind. What’s important to keep in mind when viewing his photographs, I think, is to not exoticize the bodies, but to understand and realize our likeness. To admit whatever feelings are conjured, consider them carefully, and use them as an opportunity to confront whatever privileged spine produced them in the first place.

“I’ve always thought that those in this world born with deformities, or who lose freedom of movement in accidents and mishaps, were living a life of continued suffering. Perhaps because of bad deeds in a previous life, or because they’re pathetically unfortunate.

In a rest home I met a young girl. She was nothing but skin and bones, barely even breathing while she lie down. Why was she born like this, and what are we supposed to learn from it?

To understand the meaning of her existence, I decided to photograph her.
People who gradually become smaller as the body expends all its water, people whose bodies rot as their skin peels off and their figures turn red and swell, people whose heads gradually expand from water that has collected within, people with part of their feet or hands unusually large, and soon.

I’ve met and photographed many people like that, living with afflictions that are not explainable, and for whom a cure is said to be hopeless.

Yet even in that state, when I looked upon them without cringing, I saw how truly natural each one of their lives really were. I came to feel the presence of Bodhisattva within their bodies. These people were the “Incarnation of Bodhisattva,” the children of God.”
-Manabu Yamanaka (from Jyuodo)

I updated The Author page.


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