“Borrowed Memories”

By Yutaro Yamaguchi (photographer/Japan)

A young photographer used old family albums to bring the past to life for a local community

Last December I had the honor of being one of a few ‘artists in residence’ in Saga prefecture’s city Takeo for a week. I took photos of this city’s faces and places, just to develop the films thereafter in the darkroom comfortably installed at the artists’ residence.

To connect present and past through memories, I asked locals to dig out old films so I could develop them and bring the past back to life. Sadly, these films had been discarded, but to my joy, old family albums came to light during the search so that I could make them part of my exhibition ‘Borrowed Memories’.

As a venue I chose a closed-down bar that needed some cleaning to open the doors again for the first time in three decades. Thanks to some helping hands, the bar could show its best side to the numerous visitors who seemed to dwell in thoughts when seeing the place open again.

Takeo can look back at a long history of 1300 years as a popular Onsen place. The recently held art event ‘MABOROSHI EXPERIMENT’ as a part of revitalizing project Takeo Maboroshi Terminal in Takeo was not only a step towards revitalizing the area as intended, but it also breathed new life into a bar that had been closed for 30 years and – who knows – might have made visitors recall some long forgotten memories.


Yutaro Yamaguchi

He is a photographer born in 1987 in Nagano, Japan. He studied International Communication at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. In 2010 he was runner-up in Nikkei National Geographic International Photo Competition. In 2014 his work was collected by Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, part of Young Portfolio Acquisitions. In 2015 Ueno Hikoma Award 2015 accepted his photos.


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