Shadow Game

“This world is made of images and the objects perceived through the senses are shadows.” Plato

In his memoirs published under the title Something like an Autobiography (Toad Oil), Akira Kurosawa devotes considerable space to his childhood years. In the first memory he recounts, he is only one year old. But he learns that he was one when he lived that memory from this mother only when he is 20 years old.

I remember a scene from when I was about fourteen-fifteen months old. I have verified this with my mother. But another memory I remember most vividly is getting stung by a bee when I was two (I don’t remember where it stung me!). What I remember very clearly is the pain and that I cried; the removal of the bee’s needle under the light of a gas lamp and the frightful shadows moving on the wall –despite the fact that it was half a century ago. We had a house with a zinc roof on which you could hear the clink of raindrops. I had a very poor yet very beautiful childhood with the garden on both sides of the house, countless fruit trees, games we played everyday until it grew dark, toys we made ourselves. So apparently in this pre-electric age childhood the shadow games my sister and brothers played with the gas lamp light became my first visual memories. (Actually, this was a game played throughout the world; simply put, we’d create animal shadows using our hands.)

During my life as a photographer, I always had a special interest in photographs with shadows. An interest, that draws me to my childhood, as in many other instances!

I suspect that all the subject matter of not only photographers and painters, but also film makers, writers and poets can be traced to their childhood memories! (Though of course there might be exceptions!)


These photos shot by 35mm And 6x7cm cameras on black&white negative film and scanned. Print size variable upon request (50x60cm dark room prints also available, printed and signed by photographer). Contact the photographer for price.