The 27 images in the photobook “Kamiki no oto” are the last photographs Yoshiichi Hara was able to take before his death on December 16, 2019.
Hara started the year traveling to different locations in Japan to photograph Shinto rituals and festivals, his mind always occupied by the idea of a “sound of the breath of god.” Hara, whose works have drawn inspiration from the bible before, had been fascinated by a verse in Genesis 2:7: “God created man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into him, giving him a living soul.” Until May 2019, he had shot a total of 40 rolls, filled with scenes where he “visualized that breathing of life into the nostrils of Adam as I pressed the shutter.” Shortly after his return to Tokyo, Hara was rushed into the hospital and learned that he had mere weeks left to live. He had the rolls of film developed: “To me, they clearly portrayed the ‘sound of the breath of God.’”
“I kept a total of 27 prints in the end. I viewed them again and again, listening for that sound over and over. I imagined how If I had just another six months I could have completed this work, but there was nothing I could do.” The book “Kamiki no oto” (a term coined by Hara to describe the sound that inspired him) consists of these 27 prints and was published posthumously.
“I was imagining how in the end my breath would be taken back into God’s breath.
It hasn’t been a bad life.”
(all quotes from Yoshiichi Hara’s afterword (included in Japanese and English translation))