Two Inadequate Voices


2IV is a platform for image-makers to recount and reflect textually on their stories of being out in the world whilst photographing.

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Kai Yokoyama 
My Grandfather Didn't Know My Voice

I spent some time in an ear hospital as a child.
I was the only one among my siblings to do so.
Sometimes I had to take the train alone to the hospital at the next station.
Even as a child, the thought of going to the hospital made me very depressed.
The smell of the hospital is still there, deep in my memory.
It was also a smell that made me feel a little refreshed.
I just genuinely liked the smell.
It made me feel like I was going on an adventure by myself like I was growing up a little bit.

However, I always had the fear that I might go deaf.
The fear that I might lose my hearing and the world of sound.
There, all I could hear were the voices in my head.
I would often dive into the water at the pool in the summer to experience the world without sound.

My parents must have been worried about my hearing.
They must have thought I might go deaf.
Just as my grandfather lost his hearing.
They would have thought that the gene might have been passed on to me.
I had always been told by my mother and relatives that I looked like my grandfather.

I myself was shaped by countless ancestors of the past.
It is the history of each of the countless connected deeds that have led to me.
They chose me.
It is creating the existence that I have now.
A river flows, it reaches the ocean, the water becomes rain, and then it becomes a river again.

My grandfather did not know my voice.
He had become deaf when he went to the Pacific War.

Kai Yokoyama is a photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Starting out as an architecture student at Saitama University, he switched his major to photography and completed his studies at Tokyo College of Photography. He has travelled the world photographing refugees, children with disabilities, and victims of terrorism. In recent years, having lived abroad, he has been photographing foreigners living in Japan. In 2020, he won first place in the LensCulture/Journeys series category and in 2021 his work was awarded at the Helsinki Photo Festival and shortlisted at Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Encontros da Imagem Discovery Award, and Portrait of Humanity. Yokoyama's has been mentored by Carolyn Drake from Magnum Photos and he is a member of Native Agency and Diversify Photo.