Masahisa Fukase (1934-2012) was a photographer who focused on an autobiographical practice and whose work is marked by a melancholic and obsessive nature. For over a decade, he made portraits of his wife Yoko, from the day they met till the day she left, when he began his project "Ravens", made between 1975 and 1982. The visual narrative of "Ravens" is punctuated by a new obsession that Fukase developed, this time toward the figure of the raven. The birds are depicted both alive and dead, isolated, outlined and represented as symbols, and also in motion, flying in herds. We can also perceive human and anthropomorphic figures, as well as urban landscapes that portray the surroundings of Hiroshima and his hometown of Hokkaido. It is, however, the figure of the raven that sets a rhythm and cinematic tone to the series. "Ravens" opens several multiple interpretations, all of which are marked by the figure of the deer, who is seen as the precursor of dark times, both in urban Japan and in the West, something that is underlined in the melancholy and darkness that Fukase’s images express.
© The Estate of Masahisa Fukase, Tokyo, Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.