Walk while ye have the light

Yoshiichi Hara

The increase in typhoons and heavy rains in recent years have caused many people to worry more about climate change and flood damage. Precipitation remains a vital support pillar of all kinds of life on earth, but our feelings and conceptions regarding rain – concerning our lives and livelihoods – is changing little by little.
Weather – not just in the form of rain, but as sunlight, temperature or wind – has a great effect on our feelings and mental states. In terms of photography, the ideal conditions for a day of shooting outside is often thought to be bright and sunny rather than a gray-shrouded day of rain. But the latter offer phenomena exclusive to rainy weather – from wet asphalt to water drops and reflections in puddles – that may inspire your desire to take photographs. And while the sight of dark, gray drizzle and clouds hanging low in the sky may halve your mood, the calming sound of falling raindrops could help you see things from a new perspective.

The act of photography is often linked with verbs such as “take”, “shoot”, and “capture”, but also with “portrait”. When a photograph is created, not only is the outside world taken or captured inside the image; with his work, the photographer also portrays themself, their inner world, their feelings and their psychology. If we try and regard photographs with this line of thought in mind, then through looking at the photographed outer world we are also able to take a gander at the inner workings of the person who created the images.

In his almost fifty years as a photographer, Yoshiichi Hara (b. 1948) has created works that capture not just the outer world of reality, but also express his inner world resonating with it. The names and titles he chooses for his photobooks and exhibition further amplify the depths behind his photographed worlds.
His photobook “Walk While Ye Still Have The Light” (Sokyusha, 2011), for example, begins with the following Bible verse that also inspired the title of the book:
“Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you” (John 12:35).
With the inclusion of this line, Hara implies that to him photography represents also a search for enlightenment, an act akin to a prayer. There are numerous photographs in the book of scenes taken during the twilight hours, near shores or riverbanks, and light captured during rainy weather and mirrored in wet surfaces; the play between light and water offering a pronounced reflection of Hara’s introspective stance.

A merry-go-round in a playground after the rain; lights blurred through the windows of buildings; a glove on the handrails of a passenger bridge: in scenes such as these, captured in the brief moments while Hara still had the light with him, before darkness came upon earth, light lives on within countless drops of water. The outside world that Hara captured shows that even without the bright light from the sun there is still a weak shine, and that light, together with water, thanks to water, is in constant flux. And within those who look at his photographs, they might even bring about a quiet hope.

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