Salaryman Blues, by Yusuke Sakai

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Photography is the reason why I work. I must continue eating in order to take photographs, and in order to take photographs I work. 

My consciousness always gets out of my hands and goes far away. The information coming into my ears is chopped into fragments of words, and the words caught by the capricious sensor in my brain develop entirely-unrelated stories one after another, which brings out my consciousness from the desk in my office. 

These events are caused regardless of my will. I always can’t stay “here now” and am travelling in my mind. For the last few years, I have been working overtime everyday. 

When I am glued to my desk all day long, there are times where I suddenly just lose my train of thought and my mind wanders.  During times like this, I am not consciously thinking about anything. It feel more like I am looking at an image that just pops into my head without any context or reason why it has popped into my head. 

Even if that image is an image of myself, I look at it as if I were somebody else just looking at an image. 

This is a series of photographs that I took as self portraits in which I am looking at myself. 

On my day off, I put on a suit and get on the train. When I find a nice place, I set up my tripod camera and decide on the composition/shot for the photograph. Then, I set a timer and fit that space into the photograph. After that I get back to the place where the camera is set up and I repeat this process over and over. 

In places where there is a lot of foot traffic, I wait until the constant flow of people stops. When I go back to the place where the camera is, if the shot has is off because of the weight of the lens, I feel unhappy and have a sense of worthlessness while I repeat the process for getting the picture all over again. 

So why am I going this far to take these photographs? 

I feel a sense of strength in the word “blues.” The strength to continue living in this place from now on. The strength to be born is itself created from a mix of laughter, bellyaching, sarcasm, defiance and persistence. Photography is the reason why I work. 

I must continue eating in order to take photographs and in order to take photographs I work. I think that I myself was helped by taking photographs for this work. 

Photographs & Text: Yusuke Sakai, Japan Website: www.sakaiyusuke.com

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