Even though everyone experiences it in their lives, loneliness remains stigmatized. Acknowledging it can feel shameful, like an admission of weakness or vulnerability. But thinking about loneliness in a different light, and fully embracing it, can be liberating. Photographer Gili Benita recently traveled to Japan, where a glimpse into the country’s solitary life transformed his negative outlook: he realized he wasn’t alone in his loneliness—and he could even grow to enjoy it.
所有人都曾经历过孤独。可人们却觉得孤独是可耻的，承认孤独，就等同于承认自己的弱点或缺陷。不如，换一种角度来思考孤独呢？拥抱孤独，也是在解放自己。摄影师 Gili Benita 最近前往日本，在那里，他所瞥见的各种孤独生活，改变了他对孤独的负面想法：他意识到，孤独者并非他一个，他甚至学会去享受孤独。
Benita’s newfound understanding inspired his photo series Kodoku (Japanese for “loneliness”). While the series is filled with snapshots of strangers, the project was a way for Benita to look inward and understand himself. Each passerby represents Benita’s own solitude: a single figure in the distance strolling along sandy dunes with the vast ocean spreading out before him; a man enjoying the pleasant weather, reading and lounging in the park by himself; a single beam of light illuminating the face of a woman with her eyes closed, as if savoring the shadows that seem to be swallowing her. In each image, Benita removes the melancholy associations of being alone, substituting a sense of freedom, serenity, and empowerment.
Gili 的新发现激发了他创作《Kodoku》（日语意为“孤独”）摄影系列。虽说系列中他所拍摄的都是陌生人，但这个项目也是 Gili 自我反思与了解自己的一种方式。照片中的每位陌生人都折射出 Gili 自己内心的孤独：一抹剪影，在远处沙丘上漫步，他面前是无垠大海；一个男子，独自在公园里读书和闲逛，享受着宜人天气；黑暗中的一束光，照在一名女子的脸上，而她正闭着眼，像是在细细品味这即将把她吞没的阴影。在这些照片中，Gili 抛弃掉孤独一贯所伴随的忧郁情绪，取而代之呈现出自由、安祥和静默的能量。
“This project is really important for me, because it allowed me to reconcile one of my biggest issues in life,” Benita shares. “These photos allowed me to finally have an honest conversation with myself.”
Rather than avoiding solitude, Benita now welcomes it. He now understands loneliness to be a natural part of human existence and believes that once a person accepts this, they can begin to appreciate its beauty.
“这个项目对我来说非常重要，因为它帮我克服了在生活中面临的一个最大的问题。” Gili 说，“这些照片让我终于能和自己进行了一次坦诚的交谈。”