PILGRIMAGE Looking back, the pilgrimage I took to study Western culture in 1973 was motivated by my lack of cultural identity. I travelled throughout Europe — Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France — exploring what I’d gleaned from the French nuns who raised me in my native Japan. Once there, however, I was surprised to discover that I was more attracted to ordinary street scenes, people and objects than the grand architectural monuments and art that paid formal homage to Western culture and history. I photographed the everyday. Because, to me, these quotidian subjects seemed in danger of being devoured by the unshakable and looming cultural context and history of the place. So I chose to shoot them in harsh natural light, with encroaching, threatening shadows. While the effect is often mysterious and complex, the images themselves are composed simply.

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