“The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste”
My name is Thibaut Goarant, I am a middle aged guy. I’m born in Quimper, Brittany, France but I’ve been living now in Japan for 4 years. I have moved to Japan because of my work and because my wife wanted to go back to her country.
I am a father of a sweet six-year old little girl. And I suffer from depression. I’ve always been in a bad shape, but after I moved to Japan it got worse : not adapting to my new work, my best friend died… Fortunately, I succeeded in making a new friend, which is very lucky, as this kind of relationship doesn’t build like this everyday. I am now on sick leave and left the huge city of Tokyo to move to the countryside. I see my depression influencing my work ; I shoot high contract black and white, dark, like my feelings.
I have started photography only 3 years ago. When I was about 37 years old. Now I’m forty… Yes it is late to start but you need to start somewhere right ?
I am currently using a Ricoh GRII (and a flash) so I am limited to about 28mm. Sometimes, when I shoot film, I shoot with lenses that are approximately a 50mm equivalent. With the 28 wide angle, I need to be close to be in a scene to be able to take something decent so it is very exciting. The 50mm lens is better for me for environmental portrait that I like to do with the medium format ; I want to fully use the potential of the camera and I believe it is better like this. The medium format is also about holding a big camera so it can scare the subject in a way.
Camera is for me a lovely tool. It is about an extension of my eye and brain that helps me capturing or reflecting something that I cannot say with words.
I shoot 99% of time black and white. That’s how I like to see the world around me. I think it corresponds to my state of mind ; it is only natural for me to shoot black and white.
My favourite photographer is Todd Hido although he did not influenced me on shooting, or at least not consciously. I enjoy also Daido Moriyama and some other Japanese photographer such as Shinya Arimoto or Shin Yanagisawa.
Photography has differents aspects for me. First it is an art form where I can express myself ; it is an « affordable » one in a sense that you just need a camera and then practice/work. Then it is a stress reliever ; I shoot and I forget everything. Finally it is an enjoyable moment when it comes to share my pictures with my family, friends and the rest of the world through social medias.
For photography, my best friend told me everything I should know, and even more ; that’s how I started to dig deeper. Then the books came; they are marvellous tools for learning and for mind healing, a good source of inspiration and satisfaction with the medium, a different feeling than looking at pictures on the internet. I also attended a workshop with Eric Kim in Tokyo ; it is not an experience that transcend your photography immediatly, but the energy is good and what you’ve learned hits back later ; it really acts as a trigger.
When I started photographing I did not have any work or photographer in mind. I bought myself a camera ; a mirrorless that said it was the perfect tool for street photography. The street photography words resonated in me, it was appealing. Then I started to photograph frenetically, and little by little, I dug deeper into street photography.
I educated myself and discovered a whole world of photographers. Looking for the new names on the internet, learnt about the masters, they became, not directly a source of inspiration, but a solid cultural background to pursue my route.
I used to love pure street photography, but I slowly moved to portraits taken in the streets (and a project called Hello You !). Then, as I moved to the country side of Japan (I mean real country side) and as there are less people and that the scenary is totally new to me, I started to take lanscapes.
I am currently in sick leave from my work (I work in marketing in the automotive industry) because of my depression. Before that, I would just include photography in my days off. My work, as a salaryman and photography where just two different worlds apart, which never communicated. As a salaryman in Japan, you have to bend, to fit in, even in a foreign company. Photography is a true part of myself, some place where I don’ t lie to myself.
Photography saved my life. I suffer from a severe depression but when I’m out photographing, or when I concentrate on photography matters, all the pain goes away.
I don’t have any recurring theme specifically ; I don’t explore humanity matters, and don’t document life as some photographers do. I have been told I shoot emotional ; that well describes my photography in general. See, point, and shoot with your guts.
I like to be close to my subject. I have another project called Hello you ! where I only shoot faces very close. The impulse came from the workshop I took with Eric Kim. I am a very shy person, it is difficult for me to talk to people, even more when it is not my mother tongue (please remember I live in Japan). But when it came to overcome my fears during the workshop, I surprizingly went very, very close, like an hunger for something, and I found it enjoyable and very rewarding.
I also prefer to work with somebody ; that’s the way I grown up as a photographer. Many photographers share the same feeling of not taking pictures but also share time with someone in the same state of mind as them. But recently, I have to say that I shoot alone unfortunately.