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Art and photography
2017.02.17

Daily life and reality in the 19th century technique “Daguerreotype”, the future, photographer Taku Arai

(Please note that this page was created using Google's automatic translation service and understand that because of this, its translation may not necessarily be accurate.)

Get ready and get a standing position

-What is the Daguerreotype filming process?

The first thing to do is polish the silver plate, sensitize it with chemicals, photograph it, and develop and fix it. After all, it takes about 3-4 hours at 8x10 size.

It takes at least an hour and a half for polishing, and about 3 hours for polishing. Shooting sometimes ends in a few seconds, but when it is long, the other party must stop, so you are still. I can't intervene with the other party or the environment, just waiting.

Video: Tomoe Otsu / Music: Takeyasu Ando / Cooperation: Tokyo Metropolitan Fifth Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall

Takashi Arai on the production process of the multi-focal monument of Fifth Fukuryu Maru from Takashi Arai on Vimeo .

--You seem to be polishing your technology even now.

I've been able to polish a lot, but there are still a few things I don't understand, and I still don't know how to measure the timing of the subsequent photosensitizing process with iodine gas.. I know that this is about the width of a trial and error, but it's still an experiment.

The photosensitivity process disappears after a few seconds, but the reaction speed changes because the humidity and temperature differ from day to day. It is not necessarily proportional to temperature, and it is difficult because it has to be done with physical sensation under the conditions at that time.

――What is the reason for choosing the Daguerreotype as the production method in such a time-consuming process?

Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake, an overseas magazine asked me to take a picture of the stricken area and brought a digital camera, but I couldn't take it at all. I've been undertaking various jobs as a professional, but when I was thinking that I refused work for the first time and had a frustration, or I thought it was no good, I was able to take it if I happened to be a Daguerreo type. It was only that.

《Multi-focus monument for the fifth Fukuryu Maru》 2013
《Multi-focus monument for Fifth Fukuryu Maru》 2013

The first thing I felt about having a digital camera in Fukushima was that I wasn't sure where I was standing, or that it was already damaged and I was taking it away. I felt like I was shooting and running away. On the other hand, the Daguerreo type can't escape because the darkroom tent is set up on site and the camera is big. If you're ready to shoot, you have to be in that place for a whole day. If I try to do something like that, or if I was prepared there, I started to think that I should be able to shoot with a stable position.

“Nuclear” as “Reality” in Life

--You seemed to have started working on "nuclear" because of your encounter with Fifth Fukuryu Maru (which was bombed in a US hydrogen bomb experiment).

It is often said that the theme is nuclear, but I haven't set a theme at all and I shoot anything, but it happens that the most influential part of life is the nuclear problem. I had to accept it. I have never thought about the theme of nuclear as a work. When I visited Fukushima, I thought why Japan became such a nuclear power, and I began to know later that when I examined it gradually, it led to the atomic bomb and the secret agreement between Japan and the United States. Rather than deciding on a theme, it was really real for me in my life.