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FOCUS Photography Festival
These images act as an ode to Japan. They are a visual memoir of time spent living, working and exploring in Japan for an extended period of my formative years. They are about memory, uncertainty and the creation of visual impressions in a new land. Through a non-linear narrative, they consider how we dwell and inhabit. Many of the photographs were made in locations that could be considered liminal spaces, where nature and culture entwine in unexpected and occasionally uncontrollable ways. These exterior spaces are often used for personal and obscure aspirations that are restricted due to limited interior living quarters: a couple pray for a dead child and a man carries cans up Mt. Fuji to fill drink vending machines. Within the urban and landscapes pictured figures are absent or largely overshadowed by the larger surrounding spaces and structures, often shrouded by obscure semiotics that function like mist. The photographs require a reading through the understandings of human interaction that often enmesh in uneven doses of desire and fear.
This selection of photographs draws on Häggblom’s extended time living, working and making images in Japan between 1999 and 2008. The suite of photographs was made in collaboration with Farhad Bomanjee and reflects on the progression of Häggblom’s photographic career, recent shifts in photographic theory and returned visits to Japan and in many cases to the same locations. The work extends on Häggblom’s involvement with the Lost & Found: Family Photos Swept Away by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami project that reassess the importance of physical images to contemporary society.