The Japanese Photographer in Bali Wave Ghost

In my latest novel, Bali Wave Ghost, there is a character named Kuroyama, who lives directly above the main character, Odie (Mr. Orgasm Donor). Kuroyama is a fictitious character, but one based on my research, life experiences and time-spent-viewing-the-works of photographers like Daido Moriyama, Eikoh Hosoe andAraki,

My first introduction to the world of Japanese photography was a book called New Japanese Photography, which was published in conjunction with an exhibition at MOMA in 1974.

I imagined what it might be like if an established  Japanese photographer in his "golden years" moved to Bali... an excerpt is below.

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-the image used as the header was created in Ubud, Bali as part of a collaboration between Stephen Black and Mee-Young Arkim. There are several posts on this blog describing the photographic intentions of the project. Here is the first.

-an exhibition by Daido Moriyama is currently being presented as part of the Singapore International Photography Festival

-FWIW, in Tokyo I ran SPP, an art space with Barae, a dance/performance artist who occasionally modeled for Araki.

Here is the beginning of one chapter from Bali Wave Ghost...

A LAZY MAN DOES NOT SIN

On our bed, an open book. A two-page black and white photo of a naked, hairless Japanese young man in an office. His body is covered with white powder and his head is stretched so far back that the smooth, eyeless surface of his throat is where his face should be. His hands are arthritic. Like a praying mantis pinned to a desk, his body screams at a fluorescent light.

Two hours ago there was a knock on the window. ”Herro. Here I am Kuroyama.” I put on my pants and opened the door. Kuroyama looked like a lost tourist who’d just been shopping. “Do you know butoh?” he asked in his deep voice.

Butoh lives upstairs, I think.”

Kuroyama gave me the crisp white bag he’d been holding. “Butoh is art of death with agitation spirit. Please enjoy with relax feeling.” He smiled. I looked at the sky and discretely pinched myself. Kuroyama lit a cigarette and brought it to his big teeth. “Dance of reaction to human darkness. Also, please be sharing with Miss Francesca.” He smiled again, and nodded with the seriousness of a bow. “Sanku you.” He went upstairs.

It has been quiet since then.

I have a feeling Kuroyama is now directly above me, looking at the same book, the same images, at the same time.

Another black and white image. Grainy. Another Japanese body. Lips, cheekbones, nose. Throat. Her eyes are white dust and her breasts are in rags. Arching against, kicking against a dark wooden floor. Serene yet terrifying, like a long-killed mermaid. Her hair is Fukushima.

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Bali Wave Ghost on Amazon

One Response to The Japanese Photographer in Bali Wave Ghost

  1. Pingback: Toyo Project 3 (KL presentation) | blacksteps

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