YUKARI CHIKURA | Fluorite Fantasia (Looking For My Father)
Yukari Chikura’s project, Fluorite Fantasia ( Looking For My Father), is a pilgrimage through universes that range from the miniature and personal to the vast and cosmic, in search of her father who fell silent before she had a chance to preserve his memories.
Chikura communes with her subjects until she can connect with them spiritually, and then she captures them in a state that speaks to her. The photographs themselves have an uncanny ability to place us in the same emotional and sensory space as the photographer. She seems to be inviting each place she captures to reveal its secrets, waiting patiently for their revelation. We wait with her as we scan these mystical scenes. - Editor
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What brought you to photography?
My father’s sudden death and the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 were my major reasons to become a photographer. I realized that things people had been preserving for a really long time could disappear within seconds. From that day onwards, I have been feeling a deeper connection to my identity as a Japanese. I wanted to capture the irreplaceable culture and folklore of Japan from my own point of view, and so I decided to become a photographer.
Who are your photographic influences?
There are many favorite photographers, so it is difficult to describe. If I were to give an example, though he is not a photographer, Leonardo Da Vinci is the most significant artist from my childhood. He is not only a painter, but also a scientist, craftsman, sculptor, architect, philosopher and engineer. His immense talent, and his interest in everything that surrounds us has been a significant influence on my creative activities as well.
Tell us about the steps and processes that go into making your photographs.
Before beginning the project, I of course first do thorough research. And recently, if a certain theme has more than one point of view, before taking on a project I like to see whether I can showcase it from all side. I take a picture until I know that the real photographic project can start. I sometimes take pictures in a “spiritual state of nothingness“ - so, confronted with only my subject and it alone, I make sure I can reach a place as deep as possible. There is also those times that I listen to the music that comes from within and so the stories that have been born in my mind begin to come alive in the form of photographs.
What does being a photographer bring to your life?
Photography made my inner world tremendously more colorful and gave a new meaning to my life. And of course, it was through photography that I had countless new encounters, as well as getting to know various worlds which were unknown to me until then.
What is this project about?
Fluorite is a beautiful mineral that catches the light of our star and radiates it back in the darkness of night. My stone was a memento from my father, glowing and enigmatic. His death was sudden. Before we realized, the cancer attacked from all directions and took him. All i wanted was to sit down with him and talk about his experiences, ask him about the secrets he carried with him, but before I could gather my will to do so, he was stricken mute, then disappeared into mystery. After his death I walked with tears behind my eyes and bitterness under my heart. In the cold beautiful blue stone, innumerable stars glittered and drifted. In a dream I wandered among them, searching. When I woke up, unexpectedly I found myself in the house where he was a child. It was full of smells and sounds and familiar but cryptic and mystical objects. His presence felt so strong that I thought his voice might come from the next room. Though I am unsure as to why, but I believed, deep inside myself, that I could meet Father there. Day after day, wandering around in the mystical scenery, I looked for him.