3rd Prize Graduate student. Year of Graduation: 2016. Major: Photography. Class: Bookmaking. Faculty: Tia Blassingame.
Dedicated to Sako Masuko and Sako Harumi When my grandfather died in 2011, I went with my mother to Japan to help move my grandmother to a nursing home and to clean out their apartment. The images depicted in this book are photographs I took of boxes my grandmother had used to organize keepsakes, family photos, and odds and ends. I was moved by the time capsules these boxes had become. They contained objects from my mother's childhood, from a time when my grandmother still sewed, and photographs of people and family I never knew in a Japan I did not recognize. Having grown up in America, I am concerned about my own distant, at times cryptic, relationship to my cultural heritage. The Japan found in these boxes is rapidly disappearing in contemporary Japan. After the war, Japan experienced radical change and modernization, and is now a very different country from what was depicted in some of the photographs in my grandmother's archive. Sako Masuko, now 86, witnessed these changes both on historical and familial levels, and now lives with dementia and struggles with memory. These boxes no longer exist and their contents were dispersed among my family. My intention is to honor the intention of my grandmother, who organized and held onto these objects for decades. The photographs here serve as a document of a small archive while remaining inaccessible, much like the books of negatives stored for decades. There may be a desire to look more deeply, but the efforts are met with surfaces that layer upon each other and obscure the content, echoing the several layers of loss.