In Masahisa Fukase’s final series ‘Private Scenes’, he began to explore a very different style of photography. He started placing himself in front of the lens too, exploring the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. Fukase explained, “There is no difference between the me who does the looking and the person who is being looked at. When I’m behind the viewfinder, I’m also always being looked at.” He became somewhat obsessive with this way of making images, in fact he often felt they would be better without him but couldn’t stop placing himself in front of the lens. The images are lonely and mournful, a reflection of Fukase’s struggles in his final years. It is interesting to consider these photographs in the modern context of ‘selfies’; “Everybody and everything I photograph is a projection of myself”, Fukase once observed.
Fukase was a self-confessed cat lover and photographed many throughout his lifetime, but his favourite was Sasuke who he acquired in 1977. Sasuke ran away after ten days, and after putting posters everywhere, Fukase received news that someone had found him. It turned out to be a different kitten, but he took in the new Sasuke anyway and began the series ‘Sasuke’. For a year, he took the kitten everywhere and photographed it by ‘transforming himself into a cat’. He also explained how he felt this project, much like his series ‘Ravens’, was a self-portrait, a projection of himself.
Photo London, Somerset House