After 25 years of work, Japanese photographer Manabu Yamanaka has published “Gyahtei” a book that features Yamanaka’s six photo series that exposes the subjects: street children, the homeless, the physically deformed, the elderly, unborn/deformed embryos and animal corpses. Focusing on societal outcasts, each series took between 4 and 5 years to complete. Yamamanaka’s work pushes the viewer’s comfort level to the very edge and for many beyond but it has been suggested that any unnerving feelings we have viewing these have more to do with how we distance ourselves from the stark, seemingly horrific reality of Yamanaka’s subject’s lives.
Long before the camera is incorperated Yamanaka’s process first involves immersion in his subject’s environments and living conditions.
“First of all, I decide on a subject for a project and then study and research the subject. And the next step is planning out picture composition [while] at the same time scouting, casting, and thinking about the other details. Finally, I start the new project if I convince myself that all of the above is in place. Usually it is not so easy, so I’m constantly making changes. I always find the appropriate way of shooting after I start. I believe that there is always a way through a difficult project.”