In Kaolack city, Senegal, I'm walking on the empty street in the midday sunshine.
I'm looking for a hotel.
Before long, I find an old two story hotel. It seems to be a restaurant
the first floor. I guess the reception desk might be in the restaurant.
So I open up the woody door. At the moment, all customers in the restaurant
look at me. I'm frightened.
The restaurant is full in contrast with the empty street. In the dark dining
room which is also in contrast with the African sunshine of outside, they
take something from the metal plate by hand and bring it to the mouth.
Then suddenly, the door is open. The bright sunlight comes into the room
and strange Asian is standing at the door. I'm frightened. But they must
be frightened too.
The sight from widely opened eyes are crossing over. And their hands stopped
momentarily. However they restart eating soon as if they have not seen
anything. The dining room is so quiet. Only the ceiling fans are rotating
with whiz and stirring the dull air which is mixed food smell and body
We often come across impressive moment in daily life. I always wish to
expose such all impressive moments on the photographs. However it's rare
that I have camera in my hand and get the decisive moment.
For instance, if I could take a shutter when I'm frighten at the entrance
of the restaurant with changing glance ... Do you think you can get the
same impression from my photograph?
But in the real world, that's almost impossible. Usually, nobody knows
what's behind the door.
Early in the morning, a bus stops in a small village in Africa. It's a small and simple bus made by attaching tin roof on the pick up truck. During 15 minute stop, I'm looking outside from the bus. On the opposite
side of the dusty road, there is a small gas station.
Shortly after, brand-new 4WD is coming into the station with raising dust.
It's pulled up in front of the fueling post. The door is opened and white
man steps out from the car. Soon, the old service man comes out from the
On the sandy ground with oil stain, the guy tells something to the old
man. He must tell the type of the fuel and amount. The nozzle is stuck
into the fuel grid. And the old service person gets start conversation
with the man. After a while, a woman on the side seat comes out. She had
nothing to do in the car, I guess. She is also white and blonde, put her
sun glasses on and wears the beautiful summer dress. She walks up and stands
by him folding her arms.
Without any moment, the boy vender next to my bus is running up to her.
I didn't notice that when he was beside the bus. But his T-shirt is rugged.
He takes commodities one after another from the box which is hung from
his neck, and shows it to her. She glances it and shakes her head. He hangs
around for a while. But he gives up at the end.
In a moment, another boy comes over to her. He holds a can in his arms.
He seems begging her some change. The woman in blonde shakes her head again.
The old server sends him away. The boy has gone. Then another boy comes.
The scene like that goes in the golden light of early morning. It looks
like a scene in Edward Hopper's paintings. (although he drew the daily
life of America not Africa) I look for my camera. My God, I put all my
baggage on the roof to take the fully packed bus. I always like this. And
the scene for master piece is flown in vain.
With writing in this way, I feel inferiority as a photographer. This is
something like talking about lost fish.
To capture the decisive moment you have to wait with anticipation what's
happen next. Actually, I made some pieces in this way. The other method
is directing the scene by your self. Make a scenario and let 'em play the
role like a movie. I also made the ideal scene with it. Maybe I have some
yearn to the cinema. Waiting the decisive moment is not only way to the photography.
In front of the movie theatre in Dakar, the boy with lunch pack is thinking.
"Which movie should I see tonight?" (Fortunately I have the camera
in my hand now) I think my choice is same to you, uh? "Blondy"
The story of beautiful bank robber.
"Unit 4 cinema" Dakar, Senegal 2003
The people whom I won't see again ....