SAMURAI FOTO. Masters of Contemporary Japanese Photography
Erarta Museum presented an exhibition of artworks by masters of contemporary Japanese photography — meditative landscapes radiating with the quiet beauty of nature
Photographs by Shigeru Yoshida, Kouji Sasaki, Hiroshi Harada, Hiroaki Hasumi, Motoko Sato, and Everett Kennedy Brown — members of the SAMURAI FOTO association
An admiring look at nature intrinsic to the traditional Japanese aesthetics
Amalgamation of the digital and analog technology
SAMURAI FOTO landscape photography exhibition brings together the artworks by six Japanese photographers — Shigeru Yoshida, Hiroaki Hasumi, Hiroshi Harada, Kouji Sasaki, Motoko Sato — and Everett Kennedy Brown, an American photographer residing in Japan. All of them are members of SAMURAI FOTO private association, established in 2012 by Shigeru Yoshida with the objective of promoting the Japanese art photography across the global artistic community. The association is a frequent participant in exhibitions and art fairs throughout Asia, Europe, and the US, and has twice exhibited its works in Moscow. The photographs you are about to see have been selected specifically for Erarta Museum and are showcased together in Russia for the first time.
Although the members of the association display an interest in a wide variety of themes and genres, pride of place in their creative universe is given to nature. The Japanese are well-known for their contemplative and emotional outlook: special rituals exist for viewing cherry blossoms in full bloom and autumn leaves, for observing the turn of seasons and viewing the full moon, which is reflected in the Japanese literature. The desire for a harmonious union with nature also permeates the countless gardens seen all across Japan. Several climatic zones alternate along the country’s territory which stretches for many miles from north to south, from the austere and laconic landscapes of Hokkaido, whose snowy winters match those on the continent, to a real tropical paradise. Despite its rich variety, however, Japanese nature has a certain unifying quality, transpiring not only in classical masterpieces, but also in contemporary landscape photography. Notwithstanding the fact that all participants have their own signature styles (these are further discussed in the additional texts about each of them), the entire exhibition is imbued with the spirit of the traditional Japanese aesthetics.
The technical side of the project is no less interesting. Being on the cutting edge of digital photography, the Japanese at the same time trailblazed the use of the most advanced digital technology along with traditional manual techniques without placing them in opposition to each other. Japan is also justly celebrated for its handmade paper which has recently found uses not only in traditional printmaking, but for printing digital images. The artworks featured here give the viewer a feel of Japan as a country of ancient tradition and contemporary technology. Yet more important, though, is the contemplative nature of the project: each shot is a meditation meant to help us reconnect with nature.