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W. Eugene Smith, myself, and Minamata: 1971-2012

I worked on “Minamata Disease” for 3 years from the autumn in 1971 to the autumn in 1974 as an assistant for Eugene Smith. At the same time, I shot pictures on Minamata Disease as my own theme. During that time, I did not have any plan to make those photographs public. But after the memorial service for Eugene Smith held to mark 30 years after his demise, I started shooting photographs on Minamata Disease again.

I want to verify his “Minamata” project once again now. And this project was also started from the questions to myself: “How are the lives of the people in Minamata now, with whom I talked during that time?” and “What can I do now, as a person who worked for ‘Minamata’ and who worked with Eugene Smith?”. There have been 40 years since I stayed in Minamata for the first time. I shot the patients, who had kindly stood in the front of my camera back in those days, again at the same places as much as possible. At the same time, I prepared “Minamata Notebook” to summarize my experiences and other remembrances gained through the “Minamata” project led by Eugene Smith.

It was the work to connect the time span of 40 years which have been experienced by the people who have suffered from Minamata Disease and the existence of Eugene Smith to the present days by means of photographs.

Takeshi Ishikawa

W. Eugene Smith, myself, and Minamata: 1971-2012, by Takeshi Ishikawa will be part of a slideshow projection at Visa pour l’Image 2013 on September 6th. There will also be a book sales and signing session at 4pm on September 5th.

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