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The Ordinary Unseen

 

I left my small hometown of Kochi in Japan and moved to bigger and bigger cities in an attempt to find that something. I eventually ended up in New York City, struggling with stress and isolation. I decided to make a single photograph whenever I felt sad, lonely or frustrated. As I repeated this, I gradually started to see beautiful things that had escaped my notice during my hectic daily life.

The house was a very prosperous one
and the poor man was served many trays of delicacies.
The friend took a priceless jewel,
sewed it in the lining of the poor man’s robe,
gave it without a word and then went away,
and the man, being asleep, knew nothing of it.
After the man had gotten up,
he journeyed here and there to other countries,
seeking food and clothing to keep himself alive,
finding it very difficult to provide for his livelihood.
He made do with what little he could get
and never hoped for anything finer,
unaware that in the lining of his robe
he had a priceless jewel.
Later the close friend who had given him the jewel
happened to meet the poor man
and after sharply rebuking him,
showed him the jewel sewed in the robe.
When the poor man saw the jewel
his heart was filled with great joy,
for he was rich, possessed of wealth and goods
sufficient to satisfy the five desires.
(The Lotus Sutra translated by Burton Watson)

My series, The Ordinary Unseen is a recording of those precious things that I discover in my daily life. Through this project, my feelings ran parallel to those of the poor man and I realized how happy and fortunate I already was.