After being refused dual-citizenship to Japan and Switzerland, David Favrod began a self-reflective photographic series questioning identity, culture, and place called, “Gaijin,” or in English, “alien.” Each image— staged in Switzerland, but comprised of “Japanese” scenes— expresses not only his childhood spent in Europe under his Japanese mother’s influence, but an overall blurring of the line that separates these two vastly different countries. An ambiguous snowcapped mountain, an overweight white man posing as a sumo wrestler, Favrod armored like a samurai in cardboard– they all cast a similar affect. And from this push and pull between one world and another— this dizzying ambiguity— rises frustrating questions: Where does Favrod really belong? Does it matter? Why must there be a divide? But why does it feel eerily “off” to be two things at once? Or is that eeriness actually newfound beauty?
By Michael Porwoll.