I only became aware of the existence of life and death after connecting deeply to the world of water. This happened long before I started photography: by chance, I was invited to go diving, and when I saw that underwater world it captured me at once. The various phenomena and life forms which exist only in the water and the beautiful play of water and light brought me a strong sense of elation and excitement.
In that world, it is difficult to walk as you would on the ground, and weather conditions can sometimes prevent you from entering it at all. Training and careful preparation are necessary.
Above all, though, there is a limit to the number of breaths you can take. Among the many restrictions that exist in this world, this work focuses on “BREATH,” the most essential factor. Breathing is indispensable to us; it repeats continually during our life, and we consider death to be the point at which breathing stops. Usually, breath is invisible, and I think it never registers in our consciousness.
By separating ourselves from this phenomenon, which is so close to our own lives, we can consider its essence and value.
This occurs in the water. When we are covered in water—a kind of death—the fear inside of us comes to the surface. Beyond this, the condition of not being able to breathe reveals our attachment to life. I capture this entirely unpredictable scene of struggle.
I superimpose this highly restrictive scene onto human “life.” People encounter all kinds of troubles during their lives. Even if someone knocks down a barrier preventing them from doing something with their own hands, this will not change the fundamental essence of our own limitations. It is necessary to live together with such difficulty.
Perhaps the essence of life, granted to everyone, is to live while struggling against death. Math or science can’t change this. Life is not just about visible beauty, but also about true strength, which we have from birth."- Tomohide Ikeya