FISH-MAN by Masaru Tatsuki
Two volumes consisted:
* 210×297mm | 96page | hardcover
* 210×297mm | 48page | saddle-stitched
Design: Satoshi Suzuki
Published by T&M Projects, November 2015
Signed copies available
T&M Projects proudly announces our first publication, the photobook “FISH-MAN” by the photographer Masaru Tatsuki. “FISH-MAN” is the sixth anthology of his photography.
Tatsuki’s most representative works “DECOTORA” and “Tohoku” were the product of his integration into the communities which became his subjects. His works reflects the relationships he built with his photographic subjects, the local people, and his surroundings. His work, “Tohoku” received accolades for its sincerity towards its subjects, and it won the 37th Kimura Ihei Photography Award.
“FISH-MAN” is a collection of photographs taken by Tatsuki over the course of a year starting from May 2014 of the people and their lifestyles who live in the Hachinohe city, Aomori prefecture.
Tatsuki had been traveling and photographing the Tohoku area(Northern part of Japan), subsequently he was officially requested by the city government of Hachinohe to shoot photos of this area. The work that came from this request became the genesis of this project. He spent one week of every month in the field, building an intimate familiarity with the lifestyles of the people living in the port of Hachinohe and the surrounding Tanesashi Coast for about 1 year. His primary subjects were the people who lived together with the ocean and fish.
There is the ocean, the mountains, and also farms there. They literally live in Mother Nature’s coastal areas.
They hunt fish and eat, and also share with their neighbors. Their life is one on or near the ocean. Tatsuki saw this lifestyle as one starting from the ancient days of people, and he realized that they are not just fisherman but “fish-man”.
During that time, Tatsuki, who had been shooting photographs, received news that the top of the gate leading to a Shinto shrine at a fishing harbor was found on the beach in the state of Oregon, which is on the Pacific coast of the United States. It was damaged and washed away by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan earthquake in March 11, 2011, and was stored in Portland, Oregon. Tastuki went to the United States and took photographs of the top of the gate and the lifestyle of the people there. He learned that they live also with the ocean in the same way as the people in Hachinohe. Then he realized that the land once seemed so distant, now feels so very close.
They have lived with Mother Nature, which has been greater than any one of us, since the distant past. Fish, human beings, and other living things, this land has all presences in countless ways.
This photobook, “FISH-MAN” describes the life and the lifestyle of a certain place. It reveals the close relationships Tatsuki forged during the time he spent with his subjects. This long-awaited photobook series will show a new side of Masaru Tatsuki.
This photobook consists of two volumes. Tatsuki had utilized two types of cameras. One was 35mm, which was used for close-up, spontaneous photographs. The other camera was for large format work, a 6×9 with a tripod. His approach to photographing the port of Hachinohe and the lifestyle there used these two different cameras. You will be able to see two different perspectives of the same place, period, and subjects. Thus the two volumes come together to tell the same story, that of the “FISH-MAN”.
I first became interested in people who live by the sea while I was working on a photography project in northeast Japan a few years back. At the time I was visiting a small village located on a mountain ridge that straddles the ocean. Wandering down a footpath, I discovered a small wooden boat that had been abandoned and since rotted through. From its deteriorated frame grew a tree lush with green leaves.
The mountains and the ocean are intertwined, and its inhabitants - humans, nature, land animals, and sea animals - all related.
This experience led me to Okuki, another small village in northeast Japan. The houses of the village are aligned neatly on the mountain’s gently sloping ridge, extending towards the ocean. Every house has a view of the ocean and the air carries its pleasant scent. The ocean’s commanding presence fills my body completely. The village fishermen leave port before dawn and are hard at work by the time the sunrises and warms their backs. Signaling the beginning of the day, the sunrise is visible from any place in the village. The fishermen do not pride themselves in the biggest, wildest catch of the day, rather every time they return to port safely. They always do so with a proud smile. Any fish they do not sell they eat with their families and share with their neighbors. When the fishermen are not at work in the ocean, they work on small plots of farmland. Each family in the village tends their own crops, planting and storing according to the changing seasons. They cut down trees from nearby woods to fuel their fires, cook freshly caught fish, and warm their homes in the winter.
The fishermen are able to produce every necessity of life by working the land and sea with their own hands.
They hunt fish and eat them almost every day. They live near the ocean, work in the ocean, and function as a part of the ocean. I firmly believe that these are not just fishermen but “fish-men.” They coexist with sea life, understanding the ocean as fish do and proceeds towards the ocean. The fish-man lives cradled in the ocean’s embrace.
As long as there are people in this village I believe the fish-man’s way of life will continue.
I returned to Okuki Village several times to shoot more photographs, and I learned that the gate leading to a Shinto shrine at the fishing harbor was damaged in 2011, when the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami hit the coast. The top of the gate broke off and washed ashore on a beach in Oregon State two years later.
When I joined the fishermen on their boats, I often had a feeling that we could travel further and further, infinitely and when I hard news of the gate, I knew I had to go to America.
The gate arrived with shellfish stuck to its surface, looking as though it had aged considerably on its journey, but it retained its original red color. It was then stored for some time in a large garage. When I arrived in Oregon to see the gate, I looked around the area where it washed ashore. By chance, I met some local fishermen, and they told me stories about their lives.
These men, I learned, approach the ocean and their work in the very same way as the men in Okuki. Their lifestyle does not change, whether from Japan or America. As the sunset, people sat about the beach. They watched the sky slowly darken and listened to the sounds of the ocean.
This land once seemed so distant but now feels so very close.