Message from my heart
My Japan is a Japan that few people see. I try to go beyond the places where most photographers fear to tread in my search for what I regard as “the mysterious aura of this land.”
Having travelled throughout the world in five continents, I find in Japan “a timeless beauty, a variety of unspoiled landscapes that does not exist elsewhere.”
There is an intangible atmosphere, an ambiance that captivates the senses. The echo of temple bells, the aroma of incense, the chirping of cicadas, the rustling of bamboo groves, the splendor of precipitous alpine rice paddies, the grandeur of primeval forests, stormy monsoon rains, unpredictable typhoons, breathtaking seascapes and towering mountain peaks to excite ones vital spirit.
Japan covers a latitudinal span of 15 degrees, and is a 2,000-mile-long palette of ever-changing terrains, unpredictable weather conditions, and moods. The range of nature’s wonders that can be photographed in these islands is almost endless, from snow and ice in the north to semitropical beaches and mangroves in the south. This country has more species of plants and flowers than can be found in all of Europe.
What I am trying to show through my photographs is not scenes of fixed objects, but rather, the dynamics, the passion, the drama of Japan’s changing seasons. I want to depict the incredible beauty of an instant, when heaven and earth combines to create an unforgettable image of texture, colour and light.
My aim is to portray each season, not just in one region, but throughout the length and breadth of the archipelago. The remarkable images I have compiled during my long pursuit of chasing the seasons; I pray, with all my heart that, they will remain in your mind’s eye for the length of time it will take to prevent the devastation of Japan’s irreplaceable treasure trove of natural wonders from being wiped off the face of the earth.
“There is nothing ugly, I never saw an ugly thing in my life,
for let the form of an object be what it may,
light, shade and perspective will always make it beautiful”
John Constable 1776-1837
The rain on a simple blade of grass, the silent rugged trails on mountain peaks, never-ending waves crashing upon the shores, a bamboo thicket rustled by an aimless wind, a rising sun above a sea of clouds, the moon, so near and yet so far.
These visual sensations--their texture, timbre, shape and weight--the precious treasures and inexhaustible riches of nature and her ever-changing moods are the themes of my life’s work.
The first light breaks on a red horizon. In the foreground, vapours eddy across a primeval marshland. Waiting with camera poised and senses taut--the shutter clicks. The fleeting moment is frozen as it passes into time, gone forever, never to return.
This is but one phase in the complicated interaction between nature in motion and the task of trying to capture the essence of its miracles through the magnification of my lenses. The seasons manifest themselves with undying persistence; they wait for no one. Their flow is precise and compelling. My camera, film, and self are but worthless objects against the awesomeness of nature’s vital functions--we are just crude, simple tools that at chosen moments are able to record the abstract fantasies and fickle moods of the phenomenon we call nature. This constant metamorphosis is mysteriously dramatic -- never tiring of pointing my camera in its direction. I use an old, weather beaten, oft-dropped 6x6 camera that has been the instrument of my profession for as long as I can remember. I feel comfortable with the way it reacts to my every whim, and the ever changing moods, and fleeting moments for which I search. Manipulating such a seasoned companion, is of paramount importance when there are only split seconds to shoot swiftly changing landscapes.
My photographic expeditions have taken me all over the Japanese archipelago. Japan is a spectacularly awe inspiring country that captivated me from the moment I first set foot in the hinterlands—sequestered in remote mountainous terrains—untouched by the blind progress of the modern age. I have seen much of the country since then, and have developed a deep respect and understanding for the phenomenal natural riches that are the roots of the country’s biodiversity and uniqueness.
When I am in the confines of my mountain tent, waiting for the dawn to break, I sometimes lie awake listening to the sounds of nature. Even in the dead of night, I have learned, that each season tells its own story.
I listen to the grand silence of primeval forests whispering their warnings. I see oceans awash with the residue of man’s greed. I hear the endless pitiful cries for help from a voiceless nature begging for mercy. I feel sadness and shame for the heedlessness of man’s inability to preserve the preciousness of our endangered environment--including countless endemic wildlife species caught up in a nightmare of ecosystem extinction and worldwide pollution.