Kosuke Okahara

*This book is not for sale

For years, I have been trying to publish Ibasyo as a book, but I did not quite succeed. Eventually, I began to rethink and reflect on the original aims I had for this project.
(You can see the photo story by clicking here)

The first aim was to tell the story of these girls. I hope that their stories can serve as a window into the world of those who suffer from self-harm. Also all of the girls I photographed told me that they want to see themselves through someone else’s eyes. It can help them reevaluate themselves. Before they told me that, I could not have imagined that the pictures I took might be of any help.

While I was photographing the girls, I realized that all of them faced the same challenge of not being able to develop their self-esteem. This is due to the trauma that they experienced at various points of their lives. But, if the girls know that other people out there in the world care about them and their stories, then maybe this could be a small step for them to re-develop their self-esteem. In a way, this might sound a little patronizing, but I want the girls to feel that they are important. This is the second aim of the Ibasyo project.

Although both aims are important to me, I now believe that it is not enough to just publish Ibasyo into a book and distribute it. I feel that above all else, to help the girls I photographed should be of first and foremost importance.

As a photographer, I believe that keeping people informed is important. Through my photography, I try my best to commit myself to accomplish this task. However, another part of me, the ordinary person part of me, cannot disagree with what people often say about photographers: that we are making a living on someone else’s grief. I know that I am not as idealistic a person as I was when I first began taking photographs. However, I still want to see what I can do for the people that I photographed. This is why I made this book.

Link to the special website

– What I want to do –
I have made six copies of this book. What you will have in your hands is one of the six books. The second half of the books are blank pages. I kindly ask you to write anything you feel. It can be just a thought about the pictures, or a message to the girls, or anything you wish to write down. Even a very short text is fine. I appreciate your kindness.

After letting the books float around for a certain amount of time, I want to bring these six books back to the six girls I photographed, so that they can see there are people out there who recognizes their existence.

– Tangibility –
Since the books will travel around and many different hands will hold and flip through the books, there will most certainly be signs of wear. I think these traces are tangible evidences that people recognizes the story and existence of these girls. The important thing is that, when the girls receive their books, they can then actually touch and feel the traces that viewer of the books have left behind.

If you are interested in borrowing the book, please visit the special website and send the request from the form. I really appreciate for your participation.

All photographs, text, concept, and productions: Kosuke Okahara
Publisher : Handependent
English proof reading : A.K.Kimoto
Cover design : Ai Okahara
Printing assist: Ken Ishii
Date: 15 July, 2014
Printed country: Japan
Size: 15cm x 15cm
Edition: 6
Price: Free to borrow (Not for sale)