on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End frame: Clear stream edged with maples, by Shinzo Maeda

Murray Livingston chooses one of his favourite images

Murray Livingston

I am a South African student of architecture with a passion for black and white landscape photography. I currently live in Scotland, where I photograph locally, but also travel for photography frequently.


Tim Parkin wrote a lovely biographic piece here some time ago on Maeda (Master Photographer, 2011) and his upbringing in the mountains surrounded by nature. The Kite Asakawa River ran in front of his childhood house, and Maeda would spend long days in the summer along the river. It was during this time that he developed an emotional connection to the landscape and a sensitivity to noticing the finer details of life happening all around him. Maeda, later in life discussing his affinity for photographing mountain streams and gorges, says of himself “for in a corner of my heart, there is nostalgia for the stream of my youth." Maeda’s photos display this fondness for his natural surroundings of mountains, rivers, grass and trees - or San Sen Sou Moku in Japanese (and in particular for Maeda, birds, something we both share in common). More specifically, these four characters combined form a single compound word which then expresses the idea of nature. There probably isn’t a fair English translation of this word, as it holds within it all the complexities of nature, the temporality of the seasons, the beauty of the landscape, and one’s experience with it.

A few weeks ago I set myself the almost impossible task of choosing an image by Shinzo Maeda to write about for this End Frame article. I must admit it took some time to finally settle on Clear stream edged with maples from his wonderful book This Land… This Beauty Japan’s Natural.

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