While Leaves are Falling

I was raised by four women: mother, grandmother, and two aunts who have never been married. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was a teenager. She became a totally different person overnight. It almost seemed as if the history of her life had been erased; it got so you couldn’t have a decent conversation with her. The only way to prove who she had been was with photographs from before she became ill. She has been going back and forth between home and her hospital ever since.
Then, when I was 28, my grandmother died. She was like the boss among the four women who raised me, and had really played the role of a mother to me because of my real mother’s illness. Losing her was like losing my own mother.
Before my grandmother died, I rarely took pictures of my family. Afterwards I started photographing them every time I went back to Japan to visit. Most of these pictures are made on short trips around Japan with my mother and her two sisters. My family had hardly ever traveled before that. Many of our visits are to places my mother and aunts have wanted to see since they were young. What we’re trying to do is to make up for memories we never had.
The loss of a family member made me acutely aware of how much time had passed without my really noticing. I never thought my family would grow older; it seemed to exist in a time-less place. For me, these photographs are a way of dealing with that. But they also help me to accept the changes that have taken place, and those that are yet to come.


About the photographer
Takahiro Kaneyama began his career in photography in 2003 while enrolled at International Center of Photography when the New York Times Magazine’s Sophisticated Traveler Magazine published one of his images from Midtown series. Since then, he has delved into several long-term projects: While Leaves Are Falling…, SHUMAFURA, and 1971.
Published in major magazines, his work has earned international recognition, garnering a Fujifilm/Fuji Photo Salon’s Rookie Of The Year/New Face Award (Japan), a Canon New Cosmos of Photography Award (Japan), Recruit’s Guardian Garden Hitotsubo-ten Award (Japan), Guardian Garden Recruit Fellowship (Japan), Paula Rhodes Award (School Of Visual Arts, NY). His photographs have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the world, and are in private and museum collections including: Mr. and Mrs. Avedon of The Richard Avedon Foundation on the occasion of Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief, Kiyosato Photo Museum/K’MOPA (Japan), The City College Of New York, CUNY.
Takahiro lectures, and works as an accountant (a future USCPA) between editorial assignments and personal projects. He is represented by Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery in New York.
Mother in bed



Mother sitting



Mother and grandmother’s daily tear-off calendar showing the last day grandmother was home






Shikiba Hospital

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