Shomei Tomatsu
[Photographer, b. 1930, Nagoya, Japan, d. 2012, Okinawa, Japan.]

 If I had seven lives, I’d be a photographer in every one. 
 Sometimes a photographer is a passenger, sometimes a person who stays in one place. What he watches changes constantly, but his watching never changes. He doesn’t examine like a doctor, defend like a lawyer, analyze like a scholar, support like a priest, make people laugh like a comedian, or intoxicate like a singer. He only watches. This is enough. No, this is all I can do. All a photographer can do is watch. Therefore, a photographer has to watch all the time. He must face the object and make his entire body an eye. A photographer is someone who wagers everything on seeing. 
 In short, [photography] is a matter of turning loneliness into thoughts. 
 If I could, I would want to see everything: the affairs of others, the scene of a murder, the Pygmies in the African rain forest, the super-rich of Wall Street, the face of the man who stole three hundred million yen, the Sydney Opera House, the graveyard of ships in the Sargasso Sea, the tail of an orca, the plankton of the deep ocean, the inside of Prime Minister Sato’s belly, Mao Zedong, Mars, Cape Kennedy, Antarctic blizzards, the animal whose name is “sloth,” the pudendum of Marilyn Monroe. My eyes are infamously greedy:... to me, the stuff other photographers substitute for seeing is but a kind of pessimism. 
 In this, photography is the same thing as love. When my gaze, diving into the sea as my subject, converges with the act of photography, hot sparks fly at the point of intersection. 
 A photographer looks at everything, which is why he must look from beginning to end. Face the subject head-on, stay fixed, turn the entire body into an eye and face the world. 
 Photography means releasing oneself from one type of gravity and placing oneself in a space where a different force is trying to move you. 
 A single photograph is a mere fragment of an experience and, simultaneously, the distillation of the entire body of one’s experience. 
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