Reflecting on the Work of Emi Takahashi

by | Nov 10, 2020

Photos by Emi Takahashi

A photo by Emi Takahashi is featured in the digital exhibition, “Documenting the Impact of Covid-19 through Photography: Collective Isolation in Latin America,” sponsored by ReVista and the Art, Culture, and Film program at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS.)

The resulting exhibition, based on an Open Call for Photography launched in July 2020,  aims to create a critical visual record of our unprecedented times so they can be remembered by future generations. 2020 will be remembered as a watershed year in which a pandemic laid bare the inequalities and fissures within our society. It has also underscored the importance of living and participating in communities even while experiencing the pandemic in isolation. The exhibition seeks to promote a regional perspective from Latin America and the Caribbean of the collective isolation imposed by Covid-19.


Emi Takahashi’s work presents at this very troubled moment in our society are not the outcome of chance, but of a journey of great dedication and perseverance. Escaping the clichés of the contemporary world and the immediate and flat images of social media has proved increasingly difficult for photographers. Falling into the trap of the easy and commercially accepted is too easy and simple.

I have been following the photographer for a few years and I what I see in this moment is the emergence of a poetic power resulting from a long journey of study, work and dedication despite everything pointing her in the direction of the easiness and superficialities of the media. Her face split in two, one half lighted and one in the shadow speaks to us a lot about the dark moment we are experiencing with the pandemic, but also and above all about the dark side of humanity with its prejudices and anachronisms still very latent in the present times. A face placed between light and shadow, between the motors of life and death. Everything is stamped on her face, expressing enormous anguish. Reaching that moment when an image gains such magical outlines by merging the personal with the universal is not the result of chance. In Emi, behind this image and that moment there is pain, tears and a victory of a sincere and integral struggle in the search for a voice in the world.

Half, half. This work was featured in the digital exhibition, “Documenting the Impact of Covid-19 through Photography: Collective Isolation in Latin America.”

Marcelo Greco is a Brazilian photographer and author of eight books. He develops signature photography courses and workshops for the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art and supervises photographers in study groups to develop personal projects, a group that Takahashi joined in 2017.

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