‘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.”
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.
The silent Michael Eastman‘s ‘Havana’ – a nostalgic trip to a faded glory, past grandeur and decaying prosperity.
‘Painterly in quality, these richly colored photographs are dramatically lit and exquisitely detailed. Though mostly devoid of people, they manage to capture contemporary Cuban life through suggestion: an empty chair, an ancient car, a decrepit hallway, a forgotten chandelier. The result is as eloquent as a love poem written to a city rich in history, culture, and feeling.’
“The place of bamboo in the minds of East Asian people goes far beyond our imagination. Because Bamboo grows tall and straight by emptying its body and creating voids within, so it has been praised as a representative of uprightness and emptiness. Especially, Korea, Japan and China all placed bamboo in the first rank of evergreens, even surpassing the pine tree, and gave bamboo the first place for its nobility of soul. Scholars believed that the scent of bamboo expresses a world of pure ideal, and thought they would enter a pure spiritual world when they went into a bamboo forest because of the scent of spirit represented by bamboo.” Jin Dongsun
From 1989 to 1994 Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen travelled through Norway, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands in searching of those elements that define the mystic atmosphere of the land and its relationship with those who inhabit it.
“I think that I managed to capture here the meaning of the Nordic Signs, something that is at the same time wild yet livable, and profoundly shaped by the climate, the wind, and destiny.”
Joakim Eskildsen – Nordic Signs
The photographs were self-published in a book ‘Nordic Signs’ in 1995, but now it is out of print and sought after.
Darren Almond’s series ‘Fullmoon’ – a long exposure and the invisible landscape turns to a visible meditation.
Darren Almond – Fullmoon
“Light generates life – this is why we are drawn to it, but contrary to the harsh light of the sun, the reflective light of the moon makes us see further. The landscape of the night is an emotional landscape as much as it is a physical landscape.”
The first photographs on nights with a full moon, English artist Darren Almond took in 1998 initiated an experiment, which he called Fifteen Minute Moon. This became the starting point to an ongoing series of works, now known as ‘Fullmoon‘ and available as a photo book published by Taschen.
“The moon is the sculpture, that belongs to everybody on the planet. It’s a small glimmer of light between two voids of darkness. The moon to me is a historical point, a point we can relate to. Everything beyond the moon is just too far away, is beyond language.”
Photographer Gunter Pfannmüller along with writer Wilhelm Klein were the first photojournalists allowed into Burma in 1980. With the help of a photography portrait studio that they created, for over 35 years they have been photographing the country’s different ethnic groups. As a consequence, the project ‘In search of dignity‘ was produced, selling over a million copies and printed in 12 languages.
“The relationship between the photography and human dignity has always been ambivalent. Precisely when meeting what we Europeans consider exotic, the inquiring camera all too frequently destroys what it seeks to capture: the uniqueness of each individual. Treading this fine line can only succeed in an atmosphere that establishes closeness while maintaining distance. With a delicate feel for the details that visually manifest personality. And, not least, with the patience to trust the right moment.”
Gunter Pfannmüller – In search of Dignity
The project is available as photo book in English and German editions.
Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase made his obscure masterpiece ‘Ravens’ (‘Karasu’) between 1975 and 1982 as a way of overcoming a personal emotional trauma following a divorce with his second wife Yōko Wanibe. Though the photographs at first sight are a personal lament reflecting the darkened vision of the photographer himself, they are regarded by many as the most important body of work to come out of postwar Japan, and still its imagery continues to inspire artists and writers today.
Masahisa Fukase – Ravens
The project originated as an eight-part series for the magazine Camera Mainichi and these photo essays reveal that Fukase experimented with multiple exposure printing and narrative text as part of the development of the Karasu concept. The first book was published in 1986, subsequent editions were published in 1991 and and 2008, and in May, 2017 a new one published by Mack Books.
“Ravens is one of the defining bodies of work in the history of photography and a high point in the photo book genre. This accumulation of accolades, and the passing of time, have obscured much of the fascinating detail which explains the artist’s pre-occupation with this motif throughout his work. It was not simply a reflection of the existential angst and anhedonia he suffered throughout his life but manifested in artistic self-identification with the raven and ultimately spiralled into a solitary existence and artistic practice on the edge of madness…” Tomo Kosuga from his essay Cries of Solitude