Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt series ‘Tree Zone’ – ‘a photographic exploration of the barren Nordic landscape during winter and the ways in which human relate to it. Large, colourless images that tell a story of defiance, of surviving in spite of ruthless conditions, of being part of a world that you can not fully control or know.
Thematically and formally this work is a continuation of previous projects HOW TO HUNT, DYING BIRDS and HUNTING GROUND.’
Aokigahara forest is a beautiful forest of a size of 35 km square, located around 100 km from Tokyo, created some 1000 years ago, after an eruption of Mount Fuji. Locally, it is also known under the name of Jukai (“Sea of Trees”) because of its very high density of trees.
From the air it looks like a vast green serene ocean… but inside it keeps a lot of death tragedies.
Called “the perfect place to die,” the Aokigahara forest has the unfortunate distinction of the world’s 2nd most popular place to take one’s life (the 1st is for the Golden Gate Bridge).
Catching the beauty and the eerie nature of the forest, Polish photographer aims to make people stop and ponder over their lives, and hopefully rethink their decisions before committing a suicide.
Tomasz Lazar – Sea of Trees
It is stated that everything began in the 19th century when people started practicing there the so called “ubasute ritual” (an infirm or elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die, either by dehydration, starvation, or exposure, as a form of euthanasia).
The suicide forest phenomenon however started in 1960`s with a romantic fiction story for an unfulfilled love. In the book “Tower of Waves” by Seichō Matsumoto, because the couple couldn’t be together, they decided to commit suicide inside this forest. The impact of this story resulted in around 30 people yearly committing suicide in the Aokigahara Forest, until 1988.
Gradually, not only an unfulfilled love but other dramatic personal stories became reasons to raise the number of suicides to 105 in 2003. In recent years, Japanese authorities discontinued publishing exact suicide numbers in order to avoid making the place even more popular.
Terri Weifenbach’s ‘Snake Eyes’ – walking us calmly among the gardens, roads and the valley near Lana, an idyllic town in Italy with beautiful, colourful, romantic, almost ethereal palette and composition.
“I think that photographers as a general rule edit from the world. They take what is in the image as the content. Painters have to construct and as a result the content isn’t always the imagery. You have experiences that take you far beyond what’s recorded in the image. I have stepped into a particular position by stating that beauty is more than simple entertainment. Beauty has depth. And that position is a mine field in photography. Snake Eyes is of a place that we have proposed as being beautiful and I’m offering this as a serious body of work.”
Terri Weifenbach – Snake Eyes
The series is included in a photo book of 500 copies, paired in an intriguing dialogue with her black and white husband’s work, John Gossage.
With a direct physical presence of energy drinks in the images, Stephen Gill’s focus in his series ‘Best Before End’ is on the danger upon our inner life due to the gradually growing addiction of energy drinks consumption.
Stephen Gill – Best Before End
“The colour negative films were part-processed and soaked in energy drink, which caused image shifts and disruptions and softened the film emulsion. This softening allowed for manual stretching, moving, tearing and distortion of the layers of film emulsion to take place, and further manual shifts were added with a soft brush while the emulsion was still pliable. All the drinks were sourced in East London, which is also where the images were made.”
Available as a 72-pages photo book published in 2014 by Nobody in association with Archive of Modern Conflict.
‘Yusurika’ means ‘buzzer midge’ – a tiny insect that looks like mosquito but is a non-biting. It tends to fly in large swarms and creates a mild buzzing sound, that how it got its name.
What inspiring might exist in this? Only if you have the vision of Japanese photographer Yoshinori Mizutani to see through his camera lens fairies instead. They radiate an almost palpable kinetic energy when reflected in the camera flash and transform the place into a sparkling, magical realm.
Yoshinori Mizutani – Yusurika
Having grown up in a small town surrounded by rich wildlife and nature Yoshinori Mizutani learned how to make conversations with the natural world. “Surrounded by mountains, with young leaves and flowers on the trees, fireflies around the creeks, red dragonflies flying over rice paddies…a silvery world when snow fell, a place with bountiful nature—that is where I grew up.” Even when he moved to Tokyo, nature continued to call him out to understand its feelings and expressions. “Perhaps, by facing nature, I was unconsciously catching sight of my original landscape from childhood… Or perhaps, it is only natural for us to seek nature.”
Elger Esser‘s series ‘Voyage En Egypte’ – “I wanted to give a viewer and myself the opportunity to stand in this landscape again and to get lost in it.”
‘For his series ‘Voyage En Egypte’, Elger Esser traveled along the Nile from Luxor to Aswan with an 8 x 10 land camera, photographing the banks of the river, traditional feluccas, dahabiyas, and fisherman. Taken from a great distance with the artist’s signature precision and formal grace, the photographs of Voyage en Egypte are calm, grandiose landscapes in addition to being provocative meditations on light, space and color. Large expanses of water and sky in dissipating pastel hues form the cornerstone of these compositions, while the land and civilization itself provide sharp but remote horizon lines which are dwarfed by the natural elements.’ (review by Bill Bush for Huffingtonpost)
Vasantha Yogananthan’s project ‘A Myth of Two Souls’ is a contemporary retelling of the ancient Indian epic poem ‘The Ramayana’, that takes viewers on a journey through fictional and historical stories retracing the route from north to south India of the legendary prince Rama and his adventures.
Yogananthan’s series draw inspiration from the imagery associated with this myth and its pervasiveness in everyday Indian life. “The idea is to carefully play on the illusion and the ambiguity of the photograph. I shoot local people who live in these ancient, historical places. I never ask them to wear props—but since the country’s traditions are so strong, it can be hard for viewers to understand whether the work was taken yesterday or 100 years ago.”
Vasantha Yogananthan – A Myth of Two Souls, book Early Times
‘A Myth of Two Souls’ will be published in seven photo books within 2016-2019, one per chapter of the tale. ‘Early Times’ is the 1st chapter. To date other two chapters are also available – the 2nd one ‘The Promise’ and the 3rd one ‘The Exile’. “Within each volume, though, everything will be different: the design, the typography, the materials used, the way the text and the images relate. I want to keep each chapter fresh and distinctive since the subjects are so different from one another.”
“My aim is to leave each person with their own possibilities of imagination when they flip through the pages of my book. I wanted to strike a balance between keeping the viewer engaged while leaving ample room for subjective interpretation. I was always intent on producing an object that could evoke something in the reader’s mind. This openness has its roots in the Ramayana itself. Unlike the Bible, there is no singular, definitive text of the poem. There are hundreds of Ramayanas that correspond to different regions, traditions, languages and more.”
The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. First recorded by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 BC, ‘The Ramayana’ has many versions and has been constantly rewritten and reinterpreted through the ages, and continues to evolve today.
The main focus of the series are utility poles, but also a few plants winding around rectangular wire nets or wooden grates.
The photographer presents us two shots – one as a close-up with all the details where clearly could recognize the subject and one from a distance where the subject disappears and the innumerable cables, transformers and branches are converted into an abstract composition against a monochrome background.
“The main object of my work is not to manipulate the world, but the way of looking at it. It is important to me to leave the world the way it is. The only thing I do is to find a way to produce a perspective”
Andreas Gefeller – The Japan Series
‘The Japan Series’ originated on the occasion of the European Eyes on Japan project in which European photographers are invited each year to capture their impressions of this Far Eastern country on film.
“After the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, I found a blog about peacocks that were left in the evacuation zone, within the 20 km limit. I started imagining those peacocks, walking around the empty town with their beautiful wings spread. The image I had in my mind seemed so far away from what was going on in Fukushima. It was as if two different layers of images – the disaster scene and beautiful peacocks – were overlapping with each other without being unified…I started to see different layers in almost everything…”
Miho Kajioka -And, where did the peacocks go
The series is collected in a book but the 1st edition of only 50 copies is sold out.
Read here the feelings and emotions behind each of the photographs
“The cherry blossom is one of flowers that symbolizes the beginning of spring in Japan. When cherry trees are fully blossomed, they look magnificent. These trees are well treated and maintained carefully in order to protect them from disease and bugs. Therefore, their leaves keep their shape and are all balanced in size.
There is an old cherry tree in my garden. It has been left abandoned in adverse conditions for some time, and has been home to countless caterpillars and bugs. In autumn, when I picked up the leaves, I noticed a striking difference with the trees elsewhere. The leaves looked ugly; they were varied in size and bitten by bugs. There was no single leaf that retained its original figure.
I found this uniqueness to be striking. The rugged charm of the individual leaf, so different from the beauty of the flower, is my subject.”