Like a photographic sequence out of a Philip K. Dick novel, Daisuke Takakura’s “Monodramatic” series takes visual flight swarming with science fiction and fantasy, brought about by its cloning concept showcasing its main subject in a myriad of personalities in a singular frame. “In theater, there is a style known as ‘monodrama.’ It usually involves just one actor, playing one character. I began with this method but I decided to push it further. I wanted to explore the meeting of many such singular selves. I wanted to harness the expressive power of theater in a still image.” Daisuke explains his thought process in coming up with Monodramatic series.
Before embarking on a serious photography career, Takakura spent many years training as a stage actor while dabbling as a designer. Like directing a stage play, Takakura brings his theater experience to each of his images by carefully selecting a model capable of expressing a multitude of personalities, through a series of different facial expressions. He then chooses a location where he creates a narrative on the spot before proceeding with the shoot for a couple of hours. Putting the finishing job on creating a fictional world is spent on post-production where he combines each shots of the model into one single frame.
“The human element is the most important, it is indispensable for the style of monodramatic that represent the communication with our selves.” says Takakura. In a sense that his series gives us a different perspective at looking at an image of a crowd. A normal photograph of a large gathering could make us easily distinguish the varying personas of each person, but in Takakura’s series, the fact that each figures is represented by one model makes it challenges for the viewer to spot the differences and this make us look intently and study the finer but small details in each facial expression of the model, and only that time we see the uniqueness of each character. “Maybe somewhere you are completely different—maybe somewhere you are not yourself…but a different self.” adds Takakura.
“While doing the series, I felt the expressive powers of each model I worked with and afterward, I was surprised that my work caused a lot of interest even from abroad”. Producing a series that evokes the modern Japanese youth culture that is obsessed with image branding and how others perceives them, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Daisuke Takakura’s “Monodramatic” series is creating buzz both at home and other countries.
Takakura explains that the Monodramatic project is the result of his personal exploration of the idea of “self” and the notion of a person encountering the varying versions of themselves. “Remember, there might be a past out there that is different from “your” now. But that’s because those other selves were not selected. Your other self might be in its own “now”, somewhere.” Takakura closes out his the explanation of his series, this time like a line from an Andy and Lana Wachowski (formerly the “Wachowski Brothers”) film.
Daisuke Takakura often use a Nikon D800 camera, Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head in his shoots. He plans to do another photography series that deals with our “existence” in an abstract manner (sounds interesting).