Nozomi + Hide

 The first time I had photographed Nozomi when she had yet not known anything about falling in love.

The pure white condition of her heart and soul reminded me of a snow field which nobody had marked yet. I told her that women would become even more beautiful when they had experienced being in love. I had thought it was a great advantage of being born as a woman. I was very curious how it would change her perspective when she experienced being in love.

A few years later, she had met a wonderful person and got married. It was my honor to have an opportunity to photograph her and her husband during my visit to Japan. Because I had not seen her since the last time I photographed her, I was filled up with excitement and almost cried when I met her. She had remained pure yet grown into a refined woman.

Since the last time I photographed her, I have also got older and have thought about maintaining mental well being as a woman more than when I was in twenty. During the experiences, I have come to the facts that many of us have a great fear of aging, and we have been afraid of being invaluable as a woman when wrinkles cover our face, and we become incapable of having a baby. But I have met a lot of older women, and they are all very confident and comfortable in their skin and have reconfirmed that real beauty of being a woman is undefinable by these time-limited conditions. I saw the beauty that shined from inside of them through their eyes, smiles and positive attitude toward life. They had showed me that the best advantage of being a woman was that we could transform into a more beautiful being with knowledge, education, and compassion for others.

Now I have the different perspective about being a woman, so I am even more curious how she will be growing with what she gets from the experiences through her life. I hope that I can follow up with her at each of her life events and photograph her transformation.

私が最初にノゾミちゃんの写真を撮ったのは、彼女がまだ恋を知らなかった頃でした。

あの時の彼女は、まだ誰も立ち入っていない雪で覆われた野原のように真っ白で純粋でした。“女の子は恋をすると綺麗にになるんだよ”っといった事を今でも覚えています。あの頃の私はそれが女の特権だと思っていたので、彼女が恋をしてどんな風に変わっていくのかとても興味がありました。

あれから何年か経ち、彼女は素敵な人と出会いそして結婚しました。今年のお正月に日本に戻った時にラッキーにも彼女と旦那さんの写真を撮る機会を得る事ができ、長い間会っていないのでとてもドキドキして待ち合わせ場所でノゾミちゃんと会った時、あの頃の純粋さがそのままで洗練された女性になっていたことがあまりにも嬉しくて思わず泣きそうになってしまいした。

私も20代の頃と違って年を重ねていく中で、価値のある女でいるというのはどういう事なのかを考える機会が多くなりました。一般に女性は年をとる事に恐怖を感じていて、シワができたり子供ができなくなる事で女の価値がなくなると思っている人が多いのではないでしょうか。しかし、私が今まで出会ってきた年上の女性は自信があり魅力的でとても素敵な方ばかりで、その方たちの美しさは眼差しや笑顔そして人生に対して前向きな気持ちでいる事で内側から輝いていました。その出会いで私は年齢や外見で女の価値を測る事はできない、そして知識と教養と思いやりを持って周りと関わっていく事で、私たち女性はどんな年代にいてもいつでも綺麗になれるという事を教えられました。

今の私はこうして違った観点から女性である事の特権を見る事ができようになり、ノゾミちゃんがこれから何の経験をして、そのなかから何を肥やしにして素敵な大人になっていくのかとても興味があります。その人生の一つ一つの経験のなかで変わっていく彼女を写真に収めていけたらいいなと思います。