Hiroshi Watanabe’s ‘Findings’ – “These are honest and direct pictures; they bear a heavy silence, and are uncomplicated, singular ideas. These words invite a closer look uncompromised by time. They suggest a meditation that can bring to the surface what could otherwise have remained hidden – that opening in the sky beyond the child and his maze, and what it can mean.” Anthoy Bannon, George Eastman House Director
Hiroshi Watanabe – Findings
“My photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity, while other times I seek pure beauty. The pure enjoyment of this process drives and inspires me. I believe there’s a thread that connects all of my work — my personal vision of the world as a whole. I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation.”
Bastiaan Woudt’s ‘Karawan’ – refined images from a “land of languid heat, soaring landscapes and intriguing people”, filled with feelings, emotions and dynamics. Morocco still continues to cast a spell on its visitors and the Dutch photographer was also enchanted by it but saw this colourful country through his own black and white, contrast, grain and blur signature style.
“In 2016 I was awarded the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation Grant, which gave me the opportunity to do a new project about an inspirational trip to a country of my choice. I considered all of Africa’s countries, but Morocco quickly stood out: I really loved the thought of a country where the people and the landscapes are so varied that it can feel like you’re somewhere different every day. The diversity of people, scenery and cultures is really special. When you’ve traveled Morocco, you have the feeling you’ve seen seven different countries. Absolutely amazing.”
“This series of open-ended narratives conjures up both the playfulness and the sense of isolation we hold inside. I explore how we define ourselves in a world where we are increasingly isolated from nature, culture, and community—a world where we have more choices, but our roles are less clear. I long for a lost simplicity, real or imagined, beyond the fading edge of memory.
My work is about slowing down and noticing beauty in the world especially that which is in danger of being lost or taken for granted. My work is less about a subject and more about a way of seeing that subject, less about a landscape and more about a feeling of being in that landscape.”
Rolfe Horn‘s series ‘Japan 2008‘ – serene, calm, meditative landscapes around the main theme of water. “We, as human beings, have to flow like water, sometimes it is very tough, and other times it is smooth.”
“There is a certain point in time, where the harmony of light, atmosphere, and spirit collide, a place in the cosmos where the rhythm of nature unfolds in front of the camera. This can only happen once.”
“I believe that in nature, the smallest things, or seemingly most insignificant phenomena, have their reason and their role”.
Koichiro Kurita’s tranquil images are like wordless poems where the meditative dialogue between the artist and the serene nature’s beauty evokes feelings of both intimacy and universality.
Koichiro Kurita – Terra, / Hydra / Atoms
“I had a fateful encounter with a book when I was a commercial photographer. It was Thoreau’s Walden. I was moved by the absolute freedom of the spirit unconstrained by society’s rules and the ability to enjoy harmony with nature. It was reminiscent of Zhangzi’s philosophy and so close to the Oriental way of understanding nature. Deeply moved and inspired, I quit commercial photography and retreated to the mountains to start nature photography. The world of nature embraces terrasphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Each surface has a connecting border in mysterious ways. And in those expanses, all the things and phenomena including living things exist in time as independent entities. Though each entity is independent, they never exist alone nor in conflict yet rather in a state of order and harmony. Each connection contributes to a harmony of nature as a whole. My work is the expression of the mysterious connection of these spheres and a record of the connection between myself and nature”
“Arbor Essence is an organic vision of our identity, our roots. What we wear throughout our life journey and our family history. This and also a need to be closer to our connection to the Earth. The tree as a symbol of life, drawing its strength, its roots within this battered land .The tree resistant, fits, bark knotted, overgrown with brambles, open bites roots but vital force and porter of the memory location. Overprinting with the back spine of the human being and symbol of the house of the individual. Human stories are different, the readings also. Two things can not they do that? Fusion of a body – a woman, anonymous, back, faceless, identity, and the tree – nature, impetuous, rough, torn … And if instead of trying to turn us into beings physically perfect, we were leaving show what is our essence, our identity? Regardless of aesthetic research but just be who we are, of changing beings connected to the essence of the life and times of our human memory.”
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.
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.