⟨ Art ⟩

The trivial but cherishable treasures

Masashi Asada and his family portraits

Text / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

你想跟你的家人一起做甚麼事情呢?去一趟國外旅遊?參加十天的禁言修行?還是簡簡單單在家裡吃頓飯?攝影師淺田政志,想跟家人做的,則是一起去當消防隊、組成樂隊、打美式足球、成為超級英雄⋯⋯而這些天馬行空的構想,他都以攝影一一實現了。

日本每逢新年都會寄出賀年咭,有些人會在咭上印上家庭照,以跟親友報平安。現在已經不大流行了,但淺田家卻一直保持這習慣。作為淺田家次子的淺田政志,感到這樣的家庭照別具意義,決定認真拍攝,記錄家庭的轉變之外,亦成為家人們聯誼的特別活動。編收了這些家庭照的攝影集《淺田家》更取得了第34回木村伊兵衛攝影賞。

淺田政志對家庭照的珍視,延生於2011年東日本大地震的志工活動。地震後,淺田政志來到災區,將撿到的滿是泥濘的照片清洗乾淨,回送給照片主人。淺田政志相信,家庭照是「其他人眼內可有可無的一張照片,對當時人來說卻彌足珍貴」的東西。他知道回憶對受災家庭而言格外重要,他以滿載回憶的家庭照來填補了受災者內心細微的空洞。

今年以淺田政志的故事為藍本的電影將會上映,而位於福井縣的金津創作之森美術館Art Care將於本月底舉行其個展,除了攝影作品外,還會展出於受災地清洗照片的紀錄等。展期至3月8日。

What is your favorite family activity? A family trip to a foreign country? To join a family meditation session? Or something as simple as a family dinner? The Japanese photographer Masashi Asada has rather unusual ideas when it comes to family pastimes — he would love to fight fire with his family, to start a family band, to team up with his family members for a football game, or to become superheroes together. As impossible as they might seem, these dreams are realized through photography.

It was once a Japanese tradition to send new year cards with their family portraits as the cover design to friends and relatives. The Asada family continues to do so, although this tradition is no longer popular nowadays. Masashi Asada, the younger son of the family, embraces this family tradition. He decided to turn this into a memorable annual event of the family by making interestingly staged family portraits. The compilation of the photography, Asadake, even won the Kimura Ihei Award in 2008.

After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Asada visited the area as a volunteer. During his days in the Tōhoku region, he found a lot of family portraits in the mud. Family portraits may have no value to people outside of the family, but to the family in the face of adverse situations, these memorable portraits are irreplaceable treasures. Seeing the importance of these photographs, Asada decided to clean them up and send them back to their original owners, in the hope that the pictures could provide positive energy to the affected families.

Asadake, a movie based on Asada’s story, will soon be shown in cinemas. Also in this year, Asada will have a solo exhibition in the Kanaz Forest of Creation art gallery in the Fukui Prefecture. Apart from his photography, visitors can also see the documentation of how Asada cleaned up the family portraits he found in the post-earthquake Tōhoku region. The exhibition will be open to the public from January 25 until March 8.