"New Faces" Replacing Ever-Present Traumas of the Past

The parameters are simple; 30-minute sessions between photographers, Satoki Nagata, and subject take place in one gallery in downtown Chicago. The concurrent theme that ties each subject together is "child abuse prevention".

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This project has been a challenging form of documentary photography for a few reasons; all the subjects are captured within a consistent setting, meaning the subjects are depicted outside of their own context. The practice of portrait photography, as a subsection of documentary photography, primarily takes advantage of obvious circumstances, and is not with cliché or digestible ideas.

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Satoki had to consider how to capture the distinct, lying under the everyday. What he had to do was extract submerged content from the face of each subject. This project was a process of capturing what was beyond the cliché and "face value".

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The prompts were self-generated through a show and tell process. Satoki asked them to bring something related with the theme, and the first question that would inherently follow would be, "Why did you bring this object?" If the circumstance allows, we ask, "Why did you not bring anything or what would you bring if you could?" The results varied.

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The theme that brought all his subjects together is "child abuse prevention". Yet, they soon discovered how each subject's connection to trauma of this nature was less than implicit. Some of our subjects were completely unaware of the theme, showing up at the request of a trusted friend. These subtle and elusive social connections manifest the repression of certain subjects.

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What we are involved in is excavating repressed memories and decontextualizing the trauma of the past.

All images © Satoki Nagata

Text by RWD

Satoki Nagata is Japanese photographer and film maker based on Chicago.