Moe Suzuki’s powerfully expressive photobook Sokohi tries to get inside her father’s ongoing fight with degenerating vision. Using her own photographs, as well as images from family albums and her father’s journals, Suzuki weaves together an intimately progressive journey, both through time and through the slow failure of his eyesight. In a sense, Suzuki has taken on the challenge of photographically recreating his experience of the world as the blindness encroaches, and with grace and patience, her photobook actually documents two people – both father and daughter – working hard to perceive the world in new ways.
Sokohi begins by introducing us to the artist’s father Tetsuichi; a black-and-white portrait of him as a young boy is spread across the first page turn, putting one eye on each side of the page and symbolically introducing the idea of split vision. Other early pictures find him looking into cameras and mirrors, and soon Tetsuichi is a young man with a beard and glasses, leisurely smoking a cigarette or intently reading on a ferry. Interspersed with these family snapshots, images of flickering vision are introduced – the darkly dappled leaves of a tree, the small orb of a sunset over water, a dry view out an airplane window, the blur of the streets, some sparking lights, and the swirled distortions of water and waves, each image representing a fleeting (and often perplexing) glimpse of the elusive possibilities of sight.
The next informal chapter in the story brings the father-daughter relationship into view, with a series of endearing childhood moments where dad and daughter are spending time together – lying together on the grass, him carrying her at the park, the two wading in the water at the seaside, and the pair smiling while sitting in a red hammock. A few of these moments have an understated vision theme, from playing hide and seek amid some evergreens to sharing a view through a telescope, and these hints then connect to snapshots where the father’s view is momentarily blocked or impaired, by a wayward kite, by a flare of light across his glasses, and by the smoke and bright light of celebratory sparklers. Suzuki is subtle in her choices, and only after paying close attention to each image in the sequence do we start to see all the vision allusions, particularly the recurring motif of shaggy white waves and images veiled by curtains or washes and fogs of light.
To shop the full assortment of MoMA’s Favorite Photobooks of 2022, please visit the Museum Store adjacent to MoMA's lobby.
Size10h x 7"w
You will earn Rewards points.
At MoMA Design Store, all of the designs we sell are curator-approved and authentic. We ensure the integrity of our products through research and by working closely with the designers. Our products embody the spirit of good design objects in MoMA's collection. Some of them are actual designs represented in the Museum's collection.