The technical aspect

I am more an artist rather than a photographer. The only difference is that I use the camera instead of the brush. For me photography is an art transcending human reasoning. When I set out on a photography trip, I determine only a general destination, such as for example “Saijoji temple of Hakone,” or “Egara Tenjinsha shrine of Kamakura,” but it is my rule not to decide in advance when, what, and how I will be shooting. None of my photos are staged, they are works of art that were created intuitively right on the spot. There are only a few exceptions to this rule among thousands of images that I have made – those that I had to re-take after noticing technical flaws unseen during the first shooting.

With all that being said, I am a one-shot photographer. My motto is “no beauty – no art,” but I do not attempt to show the reality more beautiful than it is and I do not rely on post-production of digital photos. I believe that a beautiful photo can be taken right in the moment the photographer triggers the shutter.

Latest computer software allows to turn even a very poor image into a beautiful one with ease. In an instant, it can change sky patterns, create sun rays where they never existed, enrich colors, assemble an image from different parts of other images etc. etc. I never do this. What I do sometimes is using this software in order to restore the real original beauty of a photographic subject, or to pay respect to someone’s decision to place my artwork in their interior where it will be hanging for years. Following are some examples of my methods:

- In many cases I remove objects of modern civilization such as electric wires, lamps, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors etc. that make beautiful historical sites or natural landscapes look trivial and profaned.

- I remove routinely birds, insects, and any other flying objects that look like dirty stains on the image.

- Sometimes I may fix light in order to compensate for inadequate light reading by the camera, which, however sophisticated, can not be compared to human eye.

- Sometimes I trim or rotate images if this gives a better perspective on the photographic subject.

All this is case by case, but I resort even to this minimum of editing only when it is absolutely necessary. I strongly believe that a clear line should be drawn between photography and computer graphics.


Non-visual content

Sometimes I am told that it would be better if I title my artworks, create background stories, promote my artworks by explicitly placing them in the context of my personal biography, explain the meaning of things Japanese in my images and so on. I understand that there are people, both on the creating and viewing sides, who need this. Let it be, it is their sole right. What I do not understand is when these people start to insist that this verbal content is a must for visual artworks. Why all this noise?

As someone who spent four and a half years for completing his doctorate dissertation  on pre-modern Japanese history, who published a scholarly monograph and articles in three different languages I will tell you - works of visual arts are not literary works. They must speak for themselves, verbal content  is either secondary or unnecessary. And, after all, I am not the Discovery Channel, neither am I a tourist guide. As I state in the Profile, my photography is not about taking beautiful or amusing pictures. Let everyone follow their own path.

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