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READING THE SIGNS

 

It was my first time in a place where even the most ordinary street signs could only be perceived as graphic images without engaging language and comprehension. While it was often uncomfortable and difficult from the practical point of view, I think it heightened my awareness and enriched my visual journey through Japan’s iconography.  I keep thinking of with Ralph Gibson’s passages on semiology from his book of photo essays Refractions where he talks about every country having its own system of signs and symbols. I was seeing the most characteristic, repeating elements, many of which only became apparent afterwards, when looking at the collection of images from that trip: muted earthy tones of a color palette, rectangular grids, ensō circles, the zigzags of shide. I hope the series leads the viewers on a similar visual journey and lets them discover more.

 

These images were taken on my trip to Japan in August 2018 and printed on Kitakata paper. I created a handmade book of these images and published one with Datz Press.

© Tamara Danoyan