Project

Cultural Link: Switzerland and Japan In The Project of David Favrod

Not having Japanese citizenship, Swiss citizen of Japanese descent David Favrod worked five years on the photo series “Gaijin” in order to build his own Japan in Switzerland.


David Favrod, age 32

Favrod is a Swiss photographer of Japanese decent and works in Spain. He grew up in a diverse family with a Japanese mother and Swiss father. He graduated from the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, earning a bachelor’s degree in photography and then received a master’s in directing. He earned the Aperture Portfolio Prize and grand prize of the international Fotofestiwal 2014 in Lodz, Poland. His work was also exhibited at the reGeneration 2 exhibit. He favorite books are Kafka on the Beach by Haruki Murakami and Secret Meeting by Kobo Abe.


Idea

When I was 18 years old, I submitted an application to gain dual citizenship at the Japanese Embassy. I was denied because the dual citizenship law applies only to Japanese women who want to gain the citizenship of their foreign husband. I felt rejected and wanted to prove that I’m also Japanese, as well as Swiss. That’s how the “Gaijin” project emerged. The series is divided into three parts: Gaijin, Still Yesterday and Hikari. I began the project in 2009 and completed it only recently. For the Swiss, I’m Japanese. And for the Japanese, I’m Swiss, or as they say, a gaijin. I wanted to create my own Japan in Switzerland — from my childhood memories, my mother’s stories and Japanese folklore.

The most interesting and, at the same time, the most difficult task was preparing the prints. I had to be creative and always tap new ideas on how I can portray the photos in the best light.
(Editor’s Note — At the exhibits, all of Favrod’s works are presented in different sizes and formats and printed on different paper. Some pictures are in frames, while others are in passe-partout.)

Awards never influenced my approach to photography. What’s most important is that my work brings me satisfaction and that I could be proud of the result. But I can’t say that they didn’t affect my career — my participation in competitions helped draw attention to my work.


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Books

In 2010, I self-published my first book, Still Yesterday. I decided to do it without agents and publishers because I wanted to do it quickly, not limiting myself at all. A week after the release of my first batch, a representative of the Swiss publisher Kodoji Press contacted me and offered to cooperate in distributing the books. The edition sold quickly. What was surprising was that the book drew the interest of collectors. Next in line is the Gaijin project. I’ve already received several offers from different publishers.



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Plans

I am currently working on two long-term projects. One of them is devoted to the yokais (editor’s note — supernatural creatures in Japanese mythology) and the second one is about Pierre Favez, my father’s cousin who was an aplinist and died in the Lhotse Shar in the early 1980s.

Another idea of mine is a project called, “Le son des vagues noires” (The Sound of Black Waves), which combines manga comics, stories about the ocean and folk tales. I have only begun to work on it, but I am already worried as to whether I’ll be able to organically combine photography with comics.


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