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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Body Parts

Mark Page at Manchester Photography reminded me of these pictures by Manabu Yamanaka.
Yamanake puts a religious slant on the portraits, labelling his subjects 'jyoudo' (the home of a Bodhisattva, or Buddhist saint).

He says:

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.

Don't think so, but at least it is a representation of people who are not pristine and perfectly packaged and you don't get too many of those of people like this. In movies, the Farrelly Brothers are the only people who have consistently used and represented people with disabilities in their films. I wonder what the relationship is between the work of  the following photographers and the way they use their models; Scot Sothern, Marco Vernaschi, Manabu Yamanaka, Larry Clarke, Terry Richardson, Boris Mikhailov, Donigan Cummings, Roger Ballen and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. There should be some kind of map or diagram you could make interconnecting themes, ethics and practice. One for another day.

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