Q&A: Hiroyuki Takenouchi — The Fourth Wall


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Being honest. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? The Nuclear bomb. What is it that interests you about photography? Connection with society. What is the worst thing about city life? Too many people. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Deep sea. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Astronomy. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? In a dream. How often do you take other people’s advice? Once in two years. Describe a personal hell. Spend time with dislikes. On what occasion do you lie? I can not lie. What is the best way to educate yourself? Failure. What is the next book you want to read? Tim O’Brien THE NUCLEAR AGE. Ultimate camera? iPhone. Most used camera? Hasselblad H5D. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? No. Describe a cheap thrill. Go to the national diet library. Are impulses more important than consequences? Yes. Which talent would you most like to have? Get along with anyone. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Go to the national diet library.

“As a small child coming home to an empty house, the long walk from the doorway to my room proved a terrifying prospect, and to abate those fears I would leave toys and comics strewn about the house. Still, being at home was scary, so I would wander around the neighborhood playing until my parents came home from work, thinking how wonderful it would be if the grass and the tiny critters I encountered could speak like they do in my comic books.

Being praised for the photos I took while on vacation with my family was a source of happiness for me. What fascinated me about photography was that regardless of whether something was big or small, with a camera you could capture it in the palm of your hand, and shy as I was, something about holding a camera felt reassuring. I realized that when I was taking pictures, all the irritation, cruelty, and loneliness I felt gradually began to subside. Also, even though I may have set out to take pictures while thinking about myself, I came to realize that when I was shooting photos I would stop thinking about myself. You could say that perhaps I take pictures to release myself from the individual I use to present myself to those around me. If that’s what true freedom is, then to me photography is a means to overcome the walls that separate me from others.

I just kept going out to shoot without really deciding on where to go beforehand. I wanted to walk around lots of different places, but my feet would often just naturally carry me to river banks, streams, neighborhoods, basically the kind of environments that were similar to the place where I was born and grew up. I’d be walking around with my camera working up a sweat and realize things like how much a season can change over the course of a week, that the answers I was looking for were right in front of me in the gorgeous views I peeked at through my view finder. Sometimes I’d also run into crows or little critters that weren’t afraid of people. I though these kinds of animals are definitely “outside the loop” in terms of their place in nature, but I feel I might be like them in that I’m occupy a space outside the rest of the world. So, looking at them with the kind of gaze that’s never left me since I was little, I’d remember feelings that I’d not recognized when they’d occurred to me, a sign that there were other people like me who’d found life hard to live”.

Hiroyuki Takenouchi
English translation by B.B. Clarke

Hiroyuki Takenouchi, born in Tokyo, Japan, 1982. Lives and works in Tokyo. Graduated from the Institute of Photography, Nihon University of Art, 2008. He was the recipient of the honorable mention of the New Cosmos of Photography in 2008 and the special award of Shiogama Photo Festival in 2009.
Publications: “The Fourth Wall”, T&M Projects (Nov. 2017), “Things will get better over time”, FUJITA (Mar. 2017)

To see more of Hiroyuki Takenouchi’s work visit — hiroyukitakenouchi.com / Instagram.