David Favrod is a Swiss-Japanese artist that now lives in Spain. A combination of cultures that has shaped his photographic practice. He uses a mixture of styles; photography, drawing and video. Much of his work is influenced by manga/anime. He says, ‘I don’t restrain myself with only photography……my question is just “How can I tell this story?” …. I need to push the boundaries to find the right/best way for what I want to show/express’. He also notes that ‘memories are fictions … easily malleable (Newman, 2015).
Hikari (meaning light in Japanese) is a work based on memory – but not his own, but that of his Japanese grandparents, told to him on one occasion – so a memory of memories told. It is overlaid with his own feelings of growing up as a mixed-race child. In an interview with Sharon Boothroyd (Boothroyd, 2014) he explains his working process (thinking of the idea, drawing sketches, looking at the balance of different images then constructing them). He also uses sound – or the visual representation of sound – added to the images. He does not explain his images in detail and hopes that each viewer will bring their own memories to them. For Hikari he tells a story that is part fact, part fiction using found images and objects collaged together with drawings and photographs leading to ambiguous images re-creating fragments that might be memories or dreams.
In another series Gaijin (Japanese for foreigner) he blends Japanese symbols with portraits and Swiss mountains. This project was made in response to his feeling of rejection having been declined dual Japanese nationality.
When looking at his work online I found it difficult to differentiate what comes from which series. They are often shown together and have a similar feel, Favrod himself notes that his series are often linked, and he flows from making one into making the next – which probably explains my dilemma. His website (Favrod, s.d.) shows many of his images but, even there, they are just titled and dated, not separated out. Many of the images are beautiful low key scenes such as Une averse, an image of a snow covered mountain (it could be in Japan or Switzerland) part covered with diagonal black and white stripes. Others clearly reference Japan – Pour Sadako – a river with coloured paper cranes instead of reeds and leaves. Did he make them and position them before taking the image or is it a collage? Either way it is evocative. Some are portraits – La pluie noire –shows a girl covered with mud and surrounded by Japanese characters. Is this referencing the bombing in Japan? Is it a more personal memory? or both? It is ineffably sad.
Boothroyd, Sharon, S. (2014) David Favrod. At: https://photoparley.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/david-favrod/ (Accessed 28/05/2020).
Favrod, D. (s.d.) DAVID FAVROD. At: https://www.davidfavrod.com (Accessed 28/05/2020).
Newman, C. (2015) Looking Back and Forward Interviews #6: David Favrod. At: http://www.gupmagazine.com/articles/looking-back-and-forward-interviews-number-6-david-favrod (Accessed 28/05/2020).
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