Hiroh Kikai

Auch im stolzen Alter von 66 Jahren verbringt Hiroh Kikai noch viel Zeit hinter der Kamera. Der japanische Fotograf ist bekannt für seine Schwarzweiß Porträts von Menschen aus Asakusa, einem Stadtteil im Tokioter Stadtbezirk Taitō. An diesem Projekt arbeitet er bereits seit über 30 Jahren und ein Ende ist noch lange nicht in Sicht. 2008 erschien der 264-seitige Bildband ‘Asakusa Portraits’, den ihr hier für 50 Euro bestellen könnt.

‘Kikai had started his Asakusa series of square, monochrome portraits as early as 1973, but after this there was a hiatus until 1985, when he realized that an ideal backdrop would be the plain red walls of Sensō-ji. At that time, the great majority of his Asakusa portraits adopted further constraints: the single subject stands directly in front of the camera, looking directly at it, and is shown from around the knees upwards. Kikai may wait at the temple for four or five hours, hoping to see somebody he wants to photograph, and three or four days may pass without a single photograph; but he may photograph three people in a single day, and he has photographed over six hundred people in this way.’

A smiling old lady, 1986

A woman who told him she’d been raising a doll for twenty-eight years, 2001

A seller of footwear who suffered from a bad leg when he was a child, 1999

A student of law, 1994

A man who muttered ‘That’s an expensive camera’, 1986

A performer of butoh dance, 2001

A clerk who was letting her hair grow long, 1987

A cleaner of office buildings, 1986

A young man who walked here from far away, 1999