In Memory Fragments: Tokyo, Yasuomi Hashimura is passing through our collective memories, cataloguing the moments that would otherwise be forgotten and lost forever. Humans accumulate so many memories over a lifetime, and the smallest ones from daily life are the first to be lost. Each image becomes a piece of overall memory. The viewer can begin to put together the days and rhythms of the city. The photos depict the chaos of rush hour, the faces and lights a passing blur, juxtaposed against the soft meditation seen from a train window moving quickly through the countryside. Without a document, a photograph, would you remember the Jinrikisha (Rickshaw) that you saw in Asakusa, Tokyo? By capturing the pacing of life, Hashimura is showing us how memories develop, and just how quickly they can be lost.
When creating a memory sometimes the eye may linger and the image will become clearer. At other times, people dissolve into colors and lights become lines from the past to the future; so quickly are these memories lost. Hashimura relies on all five senses to create work evocative of the mood of each individual minute. Some instances are forgotten so quickly that a woman running becomes bisected, split between the seconds of the past and the future. At midnight a new days begins and humans are forever torn in two, losing sense of the brief reality of the present. By painting with this reality, Hashimura is showing us how his memory works.
Memory Fragments: Tokyo is a reflection on human nature, on the ephemeral moments of everyday life. In a sense, we are all passing through our lives, moving from one place to another, rarely observing, rarely truly looking. Like any great photographer, Hashimura is an observer, an outsider looking in. By documenting his own memories, he is in turn documenting the small moments of many peoples memories. Hashimura uses his camera as his own eye, often photographing at waist level without a viewfinder and using his extensive experience with 8x10” film cameras to capture the mood of an overall scene: the colors, the movements, the framing. In a sense the camera becomes him, and you are peeking into his individual memories while contemplating the idea of memory within the larger experience of human life.
With today’s technology it is easy to take a ‘good’ photograph; and people are taking them all the time, snapping and posting them. But are they really experiencing these moments? Are they really seeing life and memory as it is passing by? Human memories are fallible, you think you remember something but in fact without the record it will simply pass through, the moment lost. Hashimura is using the camera as human memory. By capturing these moments in his own life, Hashimura is in turn capturing what will likely be a forgotten memory of those around him. These memories are random and vague and yet sometimes unexpectedly clear. Memory Fragments: Tokyo asks the viewer to contemplate the question - how much of your life do you truly experience? What moments will you remember?