Over a couple of intermittently raining days in Kobe, Japan, David Favrod and I collaborated on a shoot that was part of the Cardinal Points, a project produced by Festival Images, Vevey.
The six shots we did in various parts of Kobe were based on David's "Hikari" series, which addresses ideas of being a gaijin (Japanese for "foreigner" or "outsider"), personal history, and recollection.
As this project was a return to Kobe for David, the his ideas about Japan and the reality of being here came together in this project. In this sense, the six shots we did in Kobe were an installation as well as a performance of David's work. Initially, we thought of having the acrylic panels set into position and then shot with a tripod. But it became immediately apparent that David needed to be in the shots to underscore his return to Kobe and also to serve as a counterpoint to the HIKARI series.
The several of the graphic motifs are katakana words lifted from manga. People who watched us do the shoots were very curious about what we were doing. Some people, when they saw the katakana for "dokaaan!!" acted out the sound. The sounds that David incorporated into his photography have a very strong and visceral power for the Japanese. Grown men were all of a sudden transformed into little kids acting out the sound effects.