"If you were to ask me to define a photograph in a few words, I would say it is “a fossil of light and time.”
Daido Moriyama’s dictum is the inspiration for a book of photographs curated by Elizabeth Avedon and published by the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. Daido’s words are as penetrating and haunting as his photographs, which I have long admired. Anybody familiar with the industry knows the iconic work of Elizabeth Avedon and how it has helped shape our notion of the photographic book.
Initially, when Elizabeth and DCCP called for photographs in the spirit of Moriyama, I didn’t consider sending in my work. I think of the Japanese photographer as the “Stray Dog of Tokyo”, nose close to the ground and eyes distended with hallucination and hunger. My own aesthetic seemed too far removed. However, his words stayed with me and I found myself returning to his images again and again.
With a few weeks left before the deadline I decided to create new works in dialogue with Moriyama. I spent a week shooting at night. I would set off around 10PM and stay out until my legs gave out and my eyes got red and heavy with sleep. I wandered around the deserted streets of Chinatown and Harlem, looked under bridges and overpasses. Feeling a growing excitement and energy, I couldn’t help myself and started going out earlier and earlier.
My second week of shooting started about an hour before dusk. In the end, I feel like the intensity of my night-time scavanging crossed over into my daylight photographs. Every one of those carries a hint of the approaching darkness in it. Elizabeth chose the one above – my own favorite - for the book entitled “Fossils of Light + Time”