Reminders Photography Stronghold Gallery will be organizing the first exhibition of 2017, Mayumi Suzuki’s “The Restoration Will.” She is one of the 2016 Photobook As Object workshop participants and she has been working on her book project “The Restoration Will” almost a year since the workshop and finally it’ll be launched at the exhibition. Prior to the show, Mayumi is sharing a series of her essay.

Mayumi Suzuki’s exhibition
March 4th to 26th. Open Everyday 1 to 7pm at the Reminders Photography Stronghold gallery.
Opening reception and artist talk on March 11th at 6pm.


© 2017 Mayumi Suzuki / The Restoration Will

Father’s lens

My father, Atsushi Sasaki was a portrait photographer; he owned a photo studio in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture. For Japanese people, it is an important custom to take a photo for memorial family events, for example, weddings, the birth of a new baby, graduation etc. My Father had a good relationship with his neighborhood as their photographer. He always used a 4 x 5-inch camera and negative film.
Two weeks after the tsunami, I went back to Onagawa for the first time with my sister.
70% of the town was destroyed by the massive tsunami. I couldn’t believe that many buildings were crushed, all of the houses were gone. I saw that part of our house was still standing, only the darkroom was left.
I found my Father’s large format, medium format and 35mm cameras, some lenses, a strobe light, tripod etc. scattered around our house. These became symbolic items representing what the photo studio used to be. When I found them, I felt my parents wanted to remind us,” we were here!”
In the winter of 2015-2016, I tried to take a photo with his lens an 180mm/f5.6, Rodenstock. I haven’t used large format cameras much before; it took a lot of time to prepare during the chill winter winds beside the sea port. The shutter was broken, so I had to open and cover the lens for exposure. Eventually, I managed to set it up and get some images. They came out dark and blurry, like the view of the deceased. I was able to take photos only during the evening or at night time, in the darkness, I felt loneliness and sometimes I was scared. This was a place where during the tsunami many people had died or were still missing in the vast cold ocean.
This situation had added a greater meaning to my work. I recognized that through this lens, I could see a different view, the view of the deceased. I felt like I could have a conversation with my parents even though, in fact, that was impossible.

Mayumi Suzuki
English proofreading: Mike Ward

To be continued….