細江英公 インタビュー Hosoe Eikoh Interview

Translated From Japanese by Vincent TrivettThis interview with Mr Eikoh appears in the January, 2010 issue of Koe MagazineHosoe Eikoh (1933), one of Japan’s most recognized photographers, works tirelessly to support photography appreciation in the general public, especially among youth. He has been the director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts since its opening in 1995. His well-known works include iconic images of the novelist Mishima Yukio, a series of haunting photographs of avant-garde dancer Hijikata Tatsumi, and the book “The Butterfly Dream,” which honors legendary Butoh dancer Ohno Kazuo.

K: Many describe the early part of your career as “experimental.” Perhaps all original photography is initially experimental, but were you conscious of working against existing norms and expectations in your work?

HE: I was the restless sort of youth and could never accept the limits that society placed on me. I wanted to do things that nobody else was doing. Failing at something that other people can do was embarrassing to me, but I didn’t see anything embarrassing about failing at things that nobody else was doing. I was a quirky young man, full of nothing but curiosity. This side of my character is reflected in my early photography.

[caption id=“attachment_134” align=“alignleft” width=“300” caption=“Hosoe Eikoh at the 2010 Yokohama Photo Festival”]](http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/201/files/2011/02/hosoe.jpg)[/caption]

K: Can you talk a little about your motivations for launching the Jazz Film Laboratory?

HE: In the spring of 1960, Terayama Shûji invited me to take part in that project, saying, “Let’s get some people together that are into modern jazz and film, even if they don’t have any filmmaking experience whatsoever, and let’s make one film each.” He added, “A friend of mine with some money is going to give us the funds so don’t worry about that.” Ishihara Shintarô, Kanamori Kaoru, Takemitsu Toru, Tanikawa Shuntaro, Terayama Shuji, and myself were all invited to join this project.

Ishihara made a fairly normal film bordering on a thriller called “Night Falls.” Takemitsu and Tanikawa produced a film called “X” (batsu in Japanese) which followed a young man as he went around the city randomly writing Xs on fences, roads, and whatever he could get his hands on, negating and denying the city’s fences, the bridge columns, roads…everything really that he saw and wrote that X on. The character in the film (to this day I am not sure whether it was Tanikawa or Takemitsu that played him) went around writing Xs everywhere for a full ten minutes.

The piece that I contributed was called “Navel and the A-Bomb” (Heso to genbaku). The performers included the Butoh dancers Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Yoshito, as lead and supporting roles, respectively, plus four fishermen from Ohara in Chiba Prefecture and their six children. The story began with that of Adam and Eve, who broke their sacred promise to God by eating fruit from the forbidden tree. God unleashed his anger against the world by detonating the first nuclear explosion on earth, killing every living thing on the planet. Thousands, maybe several million years later, Earth was resurrected and peace was restored. Birds chirped as the children of men played happily by the seashore. Then one man appears in this children’s paradise. The man touches the one thing that is forbidden: the child’s navel. The navel is the key to life, the link to the mother’s womb. This is no place to lay one’s hands for any reason. In our world there is one thing that should absolutely never be touched, and that is, of course, the nuclear button. The child’s navel and that button should never be touched. The music used in this film featured Maeda Norio on piano, Watanabe Sadao on sax, Inomata Takeshi on bass, and Hino Terumasa on trumpet. The film was also shown at a screening called “Japanese Experimental Film”.

The history of nuclear warfare only stretches back a mere seventy years, but for millions of years, the human race has been connected across the generations by their umbilical chords. It is the source of all life and this place should never be touched without good reason.

Now, there is this man who emerges from the ocean and touches the child’s navel (he’s played by Hijikata Tatsumi). So it’s the end for them. A mushroom cloud sprouts forth from the child’s navel, and it’s all over. The world comes to an end again. Another few hundred million years pass… Earth is resurrected again and we return to the same Adam, the same Eve, the same seashore, the same apple rolling.

K: In your collaborative work with Ohno Kazuo and Hijikata Tatsumi, photography and dance hold equal place in creating art. Can you describe how you and your subjects worked together in these series?

HE: Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo are both brilliant artists. That was an ideal collaboration in my opinion. But between photographer and dancer, who moves whom—the cooperative relationship—is not so clear. The beauty of my approach is that the photographer and his subject neither pair off against one another nor coalesce. The finished product is all my own.

K: Mishima Yukio was a ‘performer’ of sorts in both his novels and your photographs of him. How much input did you have in the results of this series, how much did your subject?

HE: All of the photographs in the “Ordeal by Roses” (Barakei) series that features Mishima were completely and without exception the product of my direction, without any input or opinion from the model at all. Mishima was 100% content with his role as a pure subject. He himself clearly stated this in the preface to “Ordeal by Roses”. He wrote, “Before Hosoe’s camera, I realized that my mind and my soul were both superfluous. This experience was deeply exciting, one that I had always been looking forward to.” I am therefore entirely responsible for “Ordeal by Roses.”

K: You are the director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, one of whose stated goals is the support and encouragement of young photographers. You also participate in a wide range of activities to cultivate appreciation of photography. When in your career to you decide to devote more of your life’s work to such activities?

HE: Toward the end of the 1960s I began to have a strong interest in photographic instruction and education.

K: If someone who has an interest in learning photography asks you, “Why would photography be important in my life?” what would you tell them?

HE: My basic theory is “photography is art that is about the relationship between the subject and the photographer.” Therefore, it follows that if the photographer wishes to simply record his subject (create an objective piece), then his understanding of the subject will be its very appearance just as it is in the photograph. However, the photographer can impose his subjective interpretation of the subject. There might also be a midway between these two approaches as well. The more blurred this is, the more interesting the result. Whatever the case, the photographer is but a mediator. Whether he leans more toward objective or subjective expression, the photographer is absolutely responsible for the finished product. This is the reason why copyrights exist and why they apply to all photographs. This is the case for news photographs that stress objectivity as well as for artistic ones that value the artist’s guiding hand.

Now, imagine that your house has burned down. Your money and prized possessions were all lost in the blaze. You can get your money and things back if you work enough. But almost everyone agrees that the most regrettable loss is the family photo album and all of the memories attached to those photos. If those photos are lost, nobody has the power to bring them back. The dearest photographs are the ones that act as memory because memories can never be remade. But photographs are not just there for the sake of memory. Photography is an important art form. Hence, I would answer a young photographer with this: “Photography is equally valuable as an objective way of recording events and as a form of self-expression. You are wise to choose photography.” To older folks, I would say, “Look, everyone taking pictures is young, right? Photography is a tool for maintaining health!”


K: 「ジャズ映画実験室」というプロジェクトを立ち上げた当時の経緯についてお聞かせください。

HE: 1960年の春、寺山修司からの誘いで「映画を作った経験が なくても映画とモダンジャズが好きな人間が集まって各自が一本ずつ映画を作ろうではないか」という呼びかけだった。「資金は俺の知り合いの金持ちが出すから心配ない」という誘いだった。誘いに乗ったのは、石原慎太郎、金森馨、武満徹、谷川俊太郎、寺山修司、そして細江英公の面々だった。石原慎太郎は「夜は来る」というスリラーもどきの平凡な作品、武満徹+谷川俊太郎は「×」という街の中の塀といい、道路といい、手当たり次第に×の記号を書いて回る青年、あらゆるモノを否定する×(バツ)を街中の塀といい、橋の欄干といい、道路といい、目につくモノ全てに×を書いてまわる男(映画の中の男は谷川さんか武満さんか、未だにモデルは不明)、ただひたすらに×を書いてまわる男、これが10分間えんえんと続く。



K: 大野一雄や土方巽とのコラボレーションでは、写真と舞踏に芸術としての共通性を感じますが、これらのコラボレーションではどのように被写体を捉えていったのですか?

HE: 土方巽も大野一雄もともに優れた芸術家である。言うに言われぬ濃密なコラボレーション。写真家と舞踏家、お互いにどこをどうしてできたか、微妙な協力関係。しかし、対立しているでもなく、融合しているでもなく、これが細江英公流写真術の妙味です。出来上がったものは細江写真です。

K: 三島由紀夫は自身の著作の中でも、あるいはあなたの作品「薔薇刑」の中でもある種の“役者”を演じているように思えますが、「薔薇刑」の撮影の際にはどのような場面で被写体に対して指示を出し、どのような場面で被写体の意思に任せて撮ったのか、ということについてお話しいただけますか?

HE: 「薔薇刑」のすべての写真作品は私の演出によって撮影されたもので三島氏からの意見や助言など一切ありません。氏は完全に被写体としての立場を100パーセント貫くことが氏の喜びでした。氏は「薔薇刑」の序文の中ではっきりと書いています。「細江氏のカメラの前では、私は自分の精神や心理が少しも必要とされていないことを知った。それは心の躍るような経験であり、私がいつも待ちこがれていた状況であった」。ですから「薔薇刑」の責任はすべて私、細江英公にあります。

K: 清里フォトアートミュージアムの館長でもいらっしゃいますね。ここでは新しい世代の写真家の育成を基本理念の一つとして掲げ、写真芸術というものに対する一般人の理解を深めてもらうための様々な活動にも積極的に参加しておられますが、いつ頃からそういった活動を始めようと思われたのですか?

HE: わたくしは1960年代の終わり頃から写真の啓蒙、あるいは写真教育について強い関心と興味がありました。

K: 写真を始めたいと思っている人から「人生の中で写真がなぜ重要なのでしょうか」というような質問を受けたら何と答えられますか?

HE: 「写真とは、被写体と写真家の関係の芸術である」、これが私の写真論の基本です。その場合、写真家が被写体をそのまま記録したい(客観的表現)と考えれば、被写体の理解がそのまま写真に現れるでしょう。しかし、写真家が考える被写体への主観的表現に徹することも可能です。その中間も在るかもしれません。そのあたりが微妙であればあるほど面白味があるところです。いずれにしても写真家という人間が介在する限り、出来上がった一枚の写真の責任は客観的であれ主観的であれ、写真家が責任を持たなければなりません。ですから、写真の一枚一枚に写真著作権が発生するのです。客観を重んずる報道写真にも作者の作為性を尊重する芸術としての写真にもです。さて、家が火事になったとします。お金や宝石も焼けてなくなりました。でも、お金や宝石はまた働けば手に入るものです。でも、誰しも残念に思うものは家族の写真アルバム、家族の記録です。それが焼失したら、誰も再生できません。写真の第一に重要なことは「記録」としての写真です。何故なら「記録」は再生できないからです。でも、「写真は記録」だけではありません。それは芸術を作りだす重要な手段の一つでもあります。ですから、若い人にはこう答えます。「写真は客観記録と自己表現の両方を兼ね備えている貴重な存在だよ。君は写真を選んで賢明な人だ」というでしょう。また、高齢者にはこう言います。「見なさい、写真をやっている人はみな若いでしょう。写真は健康器具なんだよ」。