Dear Stranger Project.

Photography…what does it mean? What can it mean? This type of art and product of human imagination has been existing only for less than two hundred years or so. It can be captivating and interesting, it can be boring and dull. But for me it is a riddle all the time, even though something well known is taken and shown to me. It is a mystery. How come? Well, it is obvious. I will try to explain it to you.

Once I stumbled on pretty interesting photo project Dear Strangers by Japanese artist Shizuka Yokomizo. The idea of the project as simple as nothing. We see portraits of people whom we don’t know and who stare at the camera out of windows of their apartments. They stay alone but sheltered. The point is that the photographer doesn’t know all these people as well as they do not know her. Actually they have never met each other. So to accomplish her project she sent them notes asking to stand by the window at a particular time so that she had a chance to take pictures. “Dear Stranger, I’m an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know… I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening”. Of course some of the recipients refused to participate in such a strange project. They really didn’t know each other and who knows what her actual intentions were.

For me it is one of the best projects of the 1990s. I admire her approach of… peeping. Who these people? Are they victims? What do they do? We know nothing. And actually we should know nothing.

This very project is an exemplary one. Thus photography for me is on the edge of known and unknown, clear and vague, sensual and reasonable. Probably it is exactly that captures my mind and feelings.

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