TM2.0 Project Update :
Nana Safiana traveled to Japan in May 2017 and stayed 2 weeks at Kawaguchiko close to the iconic Mount Fuji. Arriving with an open brief and without a firm project in mind, she embedded herself with the local townsfolk in the surrounding area. Staying in hostels and bed and breakfast establishments off the tourist trail, she wandered among the rural backstreets and villages where she encountered little human activity.
During her first week there she photographed what she felt and experienced – abandoned houses and buildings, abandoned cars and trucks, quiet and often ‘eery’ streets which in her own words “were scarier than the Aokigahara forest” renown for it’s location as a suicide spot.
Nevertheless, she felt that a photo-project which depicted her interest in the local areas and contradicted the popular view about Mount Fuji as a touristic and picturesque location must be photographed as a ‘lived’ experience. She trained her lens at the symbols and icons of the famed peak, which is set into the daily lives and semantic memories of the local inhabitants in this region of Japan.
“In reality, it is really hard to see the mountain as it is always cloudy or foggy” and only 3 months in the summer there are more opportunities.
Currently, she is finalising her edits and completing her statement of this significant project. As a visitor to the mountain, her point of view as a photographer would be dependent firstly upon a perceived impression of Fuji-san, and then, from a real ‘on the ground’ experience of her encounters.
She adds “There are periods of clarity, beauty and temporary peace. Yet, we only encounter flaws when we embed ourselves within the place itself… like waking suddenly from a warm, peaceful place to find that you are back in a cold, dark, lonely, empty sort of feeling, which is a place in your mind. It’s like a symphony of a beautiful journey.”
Her selection of images will show the beauty of the place in a humble way.
Nana Safiana is a documentary photographer, one of three photographers from Malaysia commissioned to photograph the second phase of the Two Mountains Photo Project 2.0