Risaku Suzuki: Between the Sea and the Mountains

We, humans, always see something. Even in sleep we dream. Everything that forms shape with light comes through our retina to our mind, where a shape becomes information. The series of these faculties represents an act of seeing. It is completed with nothing but recognition. The same thing can be said about a dream, for it is our brain, or mind, that actually sees it.

Invention and development of photography have been fostered by our craving for “seeing.” However, the very act of seeing is ambiguous. Seen through our brain, same thing placed before our eyes would have various appearances, despite a common conception under the name it carries. How can we pin down a “real” thing? We can't. Everything is narrated within our own reality. Whatever a photographer captures can't avoid recognition and interpretation through the doubtful act of “seeing.” What we actually look at in a photograph is a mass of silver particles or digital pixels, which we interpret only as our own reality.

This also poses a question about things in our sight without being recognized, such as dust or small bugs. When we are not conscious of them, they are “not seen” or “non-existent,” yet captured by retina. Perhaps, we can speak of existence and recognition only as a reality of mind.

The human being is an amalgam of physical entities, mind and desires. It is a creature chasing after ephemeral dreams. Buddha says the bright light represents mercy, in other words, the true light is the greatest love. Thus, seeing truth is cultivating one’s mind.

Risaku Suzuki seems well aware of this nature of seeing and photography. He is good at “seeing” while knowing its limits too, namely doubtfulness of the concept of things themselves. Still, unsatisfied with drifting between the visible and the invisible, his endeavor to transcend is worthy of admiration.

Rev. Akiyoshi S. Taniguchi

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