My tutor suggested I look at the work of David Favrod , a photographer completely unknown to me.
Favrod reconstitutes memories, his work explores how events , not necessarily personally experienced , were nevertheless influential as he grew up. He was brought up in Switzerland by a Japanese mother and Swiss father, left mainly in the care of his mother he assimilated her cultural mores . Refused dual nationality by the Japanese Embassy Favrod’s work investigates his own deeply felt sense of what it means to be Japanese by exploring and borrowing family memories creating a personal cultural heritage.
” Somehow , I would say that I borrowed their memories . I use their stories as a source of inspiration for my own testimony” David Favrod.
Favrod was born in 1982 , many years after the war time experiences of his grandparents . Using allegorical techniques Favrod re-constructs his grandparents personal memories to create his own individual recollections and memories of a war and its aftermath , a war which shaped his future but something he never personally experienced . The images are interesting but without the accompanying information I would find it quite hard to decipher the context , they are quite ambiguous.
The Japanese word Hikari translates as ‘the light’ , an interesting title for Favrod’s exploration of identity and belonging. Japan , Land of the Rising Sun , was also devastated by the atomic bomb , the resulting bright light forever linked with death and devastation in Japanese collective memory and something he must have been acutely aware of growing up.
The use of the atomic bomb against Japan had long reaching consequences .
Reading the accompanying captions and looking at the satellite images Favrod manipulated its easy to comprehend the sheer scale of the action and the terror caused . War imagery can be exceptionally difficult to view , the suffering and pain hard to contemplate , yet Favrod’s contemporary version of warfare and its long term effect is certainly thought provoking.
A small girl stands in a field of tall grass with a water melon shaped like a helmet on her head , her face red, it’s a strange but symbolic photograph . Favrod’s grandfather’s sister died , misdiagnosed with dehydration she was given watermelon to help her symptoms, but without a correct diagnosis failed to survive. A helmet protects but watermelon failed to protect his great aunt from her childhood death , his grandfathers memory of a long lost sister reimagined.
The atomic heat rays left the shadows of people who had been vaporised on walls. The connotations of Favrod’s dove shadow are implicit , a powerful image.
This is a striking image , my favourite , the text puts into context exactly the scene Favrod is recreating. ‘Sound’ is painted onto the image and a girl looks accusingly out of the frame. The tones are beautiful but sombre and dark , almost treacly in appearance , the stickiness of the deadly rain tangible.
When viewed in context this image is so poignant , but without the additional information it would simply be a rather attractive photograph.
Favrod’s photographic jigsaw I feel represents the small pieces of familial memory he uses to explore his own sense of nationality and identity. He makes fragments of memory become uniquely his own as he reinterprets the past.
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