Recalling back in the day when I saw this for the first time, I felt something creepy but comfortable about its leafstalk with dark green and white lines, and its rosette pattern with leaves spreading in order. I also got interested that each plant showed different appearances, although they were the same species. Those were the reasons why I started taking photos of this plant. As I continued photoshooting, I learned that this plant is called “century plant,” which grows over several decades, and when its life almost comes to the end, it blooms, bears fruits, and dies. Above all, I was fascinated by the beauty of such a way of life. Now I think it was lucky to encounter this plant and witness its blooming in 2017.
This piece “a layer” captures subtle differences in individual characteristics of this plant, and the process from its flowering to withering. Through the photographs, I depicted the plants’ individual characteristics, presence, and their attitude of living calmly and dignifiedly. I thought it would be possible to bring them out by controlling the light and fitting each plant alike into one square frame. Native to Mexico, this plant is now designated as endangered in the Washington Convention (CITES), and its international trade is regulated. There are few cases of its flowering in Japan; When I encountered such a rare opportunity, I became eager to capture every moment of this plant through photography, while it gradually changed its appearance toward flowering.
Their strength to live with all the power they have in the environment they were placed. And purity and fragility of connecting their own lives to the next generation, returning to the soil in hope of future prosperity.
When I think about the way they live, I felt that they tried their best to live in the present, while accepting their lives connected from the past generations. The birth of a new life of this plant also implies its death in the near future; It showed me that all the living things are alive, always facing the fact that everyone will have to go sooner or later. Not using any words, the plants showed me those fates.
Through the plant’s way of life until its death, I witnessed the fundamental activity of life; It made me ask myself and think about my own way of life as a living thing in the present.