Yuji Obata, Aaron Schuman, Wheel, Snow, White,

Yuji Obata: Wintertale

Members only article

In Photoworks issue 13, Aaron Schuman introduced Japanese photographer Yuji Obata's project Wintertale

It seems a strange paradox that, in order to perceive, study and even celebrate the ephemeral nature of things, humanity invented a technology that lends a sense of permanence to that which would otherwise quickly disappear. In 1839, upon discovering a means by which to make a lasting photographic negative, William Henry Fox Talbot wrote, ‘The most transitory of things, a shadow, the proverbial emblem of all that is fleeting and momentary, may be fettered by the spells of our “natural magic”…Such is the fact, that we may receive on paper the fleeting shadow, arrest it there, and in the space of a single minute fix it there so firmly as to be no more capable of change, even if thrown back into the sunbeam from which it derived its origin.’ Much of the language that accompanies photography acknowledges the apparent endurance that occurs when it is applied to the world – ‘still’, ‘fix’, ‘lock’, ‘stop’, ‘freeze’ and so on – yet very rarely does the medium concede that what truly lies at its heart is not the arresting of time, but rather time’s passing.

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