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After the Thaw.

Photographs by Tomoko Yoneda.
AKAAKA, 2014. 144 pp., illustrated throughout, 10x10½".

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Publisher's Description
This book contains photographs from two countries that Yoneda visited ten years ago. They were the product of a quite ambitious project affiliated with the EU-Japan Fest. Europe Today was launched to commemorate the expansion of the European Union (established in 1993) to include 25countries, and 14 Japanese photographers were invited to visit EU member states and take pictures, which were published in 14 individual photo books. Yoneda visited Hungary and Estonia, which had just joined the EU in May 2004, and shot from September to November of that year. The resulting works were published the following year in the ninth volume in the In-between series. With the addition of 38 previously unpublished pictures and a larger format, these photographs, newly edited and titled. After the Thaw, are once again available to us.

Dealing with the theme of History with a capital “H,” she is a photographer who travels somewhere with a clear objective in mind and captures the meaning of that place.

The relationship between history and individuals is one of Yoneda's themes. While dealing with History, her interests lie not in heroes or important figures but rather in anonymous soldiers and events involving those who found themselves at the mercy of authority. If history is indefinite and many-sided, Yoneda seems to believe that by focusing on peripheral aspects, she will catch sight of things that tend to slip through the cracks in a simplified, of ficial history.

Here, even when she confronts her subject, the return to history that she is undertaking through photography is not a confrontation with history itself. There are no traces of the incidents that must have occurred and the unnecessary things that remain in the ruins are no substitute for the important things that were no doubt lost. Yet, when this lack of traces and the survival of unnecessary things is captured visually, the history beneath the membrane of photography paradoxically becomes a palpable presence. It is indeed the gaps between these layers of surviving fragments that are the target of Yoneda's lens. The distance between things that are hidden, things that will soon be revealed, and things that exist here now may provide us with a passage to history that we should revisit.

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