The later photo book Toki – Moment (2004) encompasses a total of six series of photos depicting transitory appearances of things around us: Leaves, Cans, Snow Steps, Clouds, Water, and Flow of People. This exhibition focuses on “Water” and “Flow of People,” the very latest series that Ishimoto worked on.
For the photographs in “Water,” Ishimoto walked down to the Maguro River near his house on a daily basis, to capture the water surface based on his research on the ebb and flow of the tides, and his predictions of light and wind conditions. The results are so diverse that it is hard to believe that they all show the same river, ranging from scrupulous illustrations of the texture of soft ripples, to highly abstract images that depict complex reflections of light in the undulating water surface.
“Flow of People” is a set of photographs of passersby randomly shot without a finder, while mixing with the crowds in the streets. Results of the camera’s slow shutter speed, these utterly blurry pictures capture moving silhouettes of people and cityscapes like fluid traces of light.
In both cases, the subject itself exists as a physical matter that is constantly on the move and continuously changing. In his late years, Ishimoto expressed the idea that “every body and every object will come to an end, and turn into particles that rise up in an endless spiral.” Devoid of concrete qualities, these images capturing nothing but pure, immaterial light, seem to be reflecting this view of life and death.