Ray Ewing

Featured in MIRROR/IMAGE Virtual Exhibition

This group of images represents the beginnings of an extended, research-based project concerning my father and his time in Japan in the 1970s. My father passed away in 1995 when I was quite young, I have always felt the main thing I lost was the chance to know him from an adult perspective. The retracing of his footsteps as a young man through a foreign land is an excuse to build for myself a fuller and more adult portrait of a man who I still understand as a child. Through letters, postcards, and old photographs I am rebuilding a long-forgotten period of his life so that I may build a portrait of him, have a fight with it, and make amends all in the confines of the project. I feel that I can better see him through the lens of his interaction with a new place and culture. His mistakes, biases, and misunderstandings from 1973-74 are my truer window onto a parent who I have only been given the most shining memories of.

The first phase of the project involved analyzing and re-contextualizing the photos, postcards, letters, and souvenirs he left behind. This has led to the second phase which involves making my own images in response to the new pieces of him that I am discovering. The third phase will involve returning to Japan to retrace his footsteps, meet the people he knew, and attempt to complete a portrait of him from the missing pieces still left there.