Once again the Japanese language moved me. This time again by the polysemy of a word and the power of the feelings it allows to open. This time again, by the amazement of finding a word, in a language so distant, which corresponds, always without circumscribing, to what I seek, to what I live, notably by photography.

Unlike other words that cover the notion of real images as a form, of Chinese origin, omokage is a purely Japanese term. It consists of two characters, omo, face, surface, aspect of things, and kage, what diffuses from a body or things, the radiance of a luminous body, the shadow projected by a body, the reflection. It does not concern the image as a material representation of an object, nor the image as a metaphor, but an image conceived in memory or dream. It does not have a univocal translation, as what it covers there is always something that evades the clear perception. It is also the face, the trace, the vestige, or the recall of previous poems. In the old Japanese poetry competitions, the quality of a piece could be judged according to the presence or not of this unformulated image that emerges from it.

I have tried in these photographs, carried out between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Koya-san, to make wealth live while retaining this word. To strip reality of too much evidence. Bring out the haze and blurry depth. In the words of Chômei (13th century), "neither meaning nor expression is clear."

The progression of the images is organized around a text that is an attempt of michiyuki, a literary form that appeared in the Kamakura period. These texts were a meditation on human destiny in which the laws of space and time are annulled. The michiyuki is an itinerary route, which is found especially in no plays, with a close correspondence between interior landscape and world that the traveler crosses. In its characteristics, rhythmic prose, a sense of travel (ryoshu) is always to be found as a poignant experience of the fluctuation of things, the insertion of ancient poems, and most of the time many toponyms, difficult to use for a non-Japanese and in a text foreign to that language.

I would adopt for these photographs, as I wish that the one who watches them adopts, these words of Sôseki in Pillow of herbs:

"The poetry to which I aspire is not that which exhorts the terrestrial passions. But rather that which frees me from trivial preoccupations and gives me the illusion of leaving-if only for a moment-this world of dust. "

References :

Pigeot Jacqueline. La caille et le pluvier : l’imagination dans la poétique japonaise à l'époque du Shinkokin-shu. In : Extrème-Orient, Extrème-Occident, 1985, n°7. Le « réel », l' « imaginaire ». pp. 93-122.

Pigeot Jacqueline. Michiyuki-bun, poétique de l'itinéraire dans la littérature du Japon ancien. Collége de France. Institut des hautes études japonaises, 2009.

Kamo no Chômei, notes sans titres. Ouvrage collectif de traduction. Le bruit du Temps, 2010.

Sôseki. Oreiller d'herbes. Bibliothèque étrangère Rivages. 1989. p.13.