Jerry Takigawa’s False Food, A Metaphor for Survival (the title is a grim pun on fast food) takes as its point of departure the facts that plastic doesn’t degrade and vast amounts of plastic waste end up in the Pacific Ocean, where it’s concentrated in an immense gyre, or vortex, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The name sounds funny. Its consequences are anything but. Birds and marine life, mistaking the plastic for food, eat it, cannot digest it, and die. Among those creatures are the albatrosses of Midway Atoll. It is we, in a very real sense, who are the albatrosses around their neck.
Takigawa’s images consist of bits of plastic removed from birds after they have starved to death because of swallowing these brightly colored bottle caps, chess pieces, toothbrushes, lighters, and the like. Takigawa places these items in rows or other arrangements so that they look like candy or sea shells. Then he photographs them against a handsome background, often blurred and usually black and white or gray, though in two instances the background is a Japanese geisha print.
The juxtapositions are at once attractive and jarring- and never more so than in a photograph where the plastic throwaways consist of a set of fishing lures.
- Mark Feeny, THE BOSTON GLOBE, 2015
False Food, A Metaphor for Survival vision rests on the assumption that a unique and powerful aesthetic can emerge by focusing on materials that have caused irreparable damage to countless birds. In False Food, those materials are the plastic artifacts retrieved from the remains of albatross on Midway Atoll. The simple and straightforward processes used to create these images, coupled with an East/West aesthetic, endeavor to create a contemplative response that is at once personal and universal.
- Jerry Takigawa, 2014