Eye to Eye, Lightning Round

 Monologues and  Artwork by Becca Thorne, Kazuyoshi Nakamura and Jeffrey F. Barken 

The following interactive series of images, monologues and polls continues the international collaboration begun in our 2021, “Visibility” themed edition of Monologging. I initially embarked on this venture with UK-based photographer, Simon Ashmore, in late 2020. Via Twitter, we had invented a speaking game geared at exploring the ever-daunting process of titling artwork. Our ambition was to muse openly about each other’s pictures and to record spontaneous monologues on our phones during spirited Zoom calls. “Eye to Eye,” as we came to call the project, was at once a revelatory experience. Not only did our spoken stream-of-consciousness evoke individual artistic processes, and foundational inspirations, we were equally spell-bound to hear each other interpret new imagery upon first glance. Challenged to steer our monologues to culminate in the proposal of possible titles for each image, we planned to invite readers to decide between the options we’d come up with together in online polls. This year we’ve expanded our vision for “Eye to Eye”, developing a three-player version of the game. Veteran participant, Becca Thorne, rejoined  from Ireland and we were eager to connect with Japanese Photographer, Kazuyoshi Nakamura. In this version of the game, viewers are presented with 3 monologues for each image, and each speaker must propose only one possible title; rendering this the “lightning round.” The results of our experimentation are crisper monologues that exercise better-trained eyes in pursuit of a unifying titles. Kazuyoshi recorded his monologues in Japanese and has provided translations. Visitors are invited to tour a unique gallery, listen to the featured artists muse collaboratively about possible titles for work, and then to provide a decisive verdict in the accompanying polls. Thanks for playing!

–  Jeffrey F. Barken


Kazuyoshi: The first thing I think when I see this photo is I don’t know where, and I don’t know what time it is. But the plants are growing right in front of me, as if they don’t know which way to grow. There are no leaves, so it might be winter. ..It looks kind of cold. What looks like a telephone pole can be seen beyond the fog. If I look carefully, I can also see what looks like a black shadow horizontally. It might be a shadow of the road or a bridge or something. When I look at the tips of the plants, there is a knot. Is it someone’s sign? I don’t know if it is telling me to go or stop. If I go to that telephone pole, will I see anything? Or is there a path if I go to that black shadow? In the first place, is it possible to go that far in the thick fog? Is there ground? It could be a river or a swamp. But I have no choice but to move on. I can’t see behind me….. I feel like above this, so I titled this picture “Lost in a dream.”





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Kazuyoshi: I look at this photo and wonder why I found it interesting, but I chose this photo because it made me feel something. After all, as you both said, this is a scene with mountains, clouds, the ocean, and boats. What I felt in this scene was that the people in the boat probably didn’t feel any light, but they were floating in the lights. Only the few clouds above appear to be surrounded by lights. It felt like the clouds and the boat were synchronized and floating in a mysterious world. So, I title this picture ”floating in the lights.”




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Kazuyoshi: What I think when I see in this painting is that I didn’t know the specific time, season, or place. But the upper looks like the ocean. It looks so beautiful as it reflects the sunlight. Then, to the right is a calm sea, the left looks like a wave on the ocean just before it gets rough. There is a mixture of calm sea and rough sea. The bottom part looks like a cross section of sea, and it looks like that cross section is frozen. And I see something like a very deep hole, and there was a mist around the hole, or may be smoke. What’s at the bottom of the hole? It feels like someone is performing some kind of ritual at the bottom of that hole. It feels like a new life is being born. The white lights at both ends of the hole look like something’s soul. From this painting, I feel silence, noise, warmth, cold, anxiety, security, etc… completely opposites things, and a mysterious power. So,  the title is :” Black and White Magic.”



Kazuyoshi Nakamura is a Japanese Photographer. Active in New York in the 1990s, Kazu hosted Photo exhibitions at SVA Gallery, Donnell Library Center, AAAC (group exhibition), Grand Central Terminal, etc. He also participated in Ueno Royal Museum Gallery Space (group exhibition), Minolta Photo Gallery, and several other group exhibitions. Currently he remains active in Japan, and is in the practice of taking a photo every day and posting one (on rare occasions, a few) to X on that day.




Becca Thorne is a self-taught artist based in rural Ireland. Her subjects are varied, but predominantly inspired by nature and the environment: the shapes, textures and colours of the landscape, from mountains to oceans. Becca enjoys working with fairly diverse media: graphite, charcoal, ink, watercolour and acrylic, mixing figurative and abstract. The latter are often expressions of emotions, born out of a life-time of learning to live with c-PTSD. Becca’s hope, above all, is that her work will draw the observer in, provoke questions and evoke emotions.


Jeffrey F. Barken is an author, photographer, and the creator of Monologging.org. Follow his “open journal” on Twitter and Instagram for a window into his creative process and to join in collaborative ventures. A list of his recent publications is available here.