In a carefully crafted short essay entitled “Time’s Fossil”, first published in 1984, Daido Moriyama recounts chancing upon an old photograph on the wall of a little-visited provincial museum on the island of Hokkaido, the most northerly of the Japanese archipelago, sometime in the mid 1970s. For Moriyama, the occasion proved to be foundational, and he describes the encounter as “an experience […] like none other I have ever had”. The faded image, ostensibly of an Ainu village (the indigenous people of the region), may well once have been of documentary use in an anthropological context, but had long since degenerated through exposure to light, to the extent that any specificities were so suffused as to be difficult to delineate. Close scrutiny could reveal only the slightest of sun bleached details: a few vaguely drawn figures, here and there; a faint clustering

This article appeared in 195 on March 2016. Buy here

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