Inside this issue
End frame: Pilgrim Path, 2003 by Michael Kenna
Cody Schultz chooses one of his favourite images
Although it was not until 2014 when I bought my first “professional” camera, I believe a part of me has always loved photography. I remember constantly taking pictures around the house, of my family, of our vacations, and especially of Jazmine, my family’s dog. At first, I had thought that landscape photography was boring, not understanding why someone would want to wait hours on end in a single location, just to end up going home empty-handed. Yet in 2016, I found myself doing exactly that. I found myself going on long hikes with my girlfriend, sweating and panting as we walked up steep hills to various waterfalls, often coming home only to realize that none of the photographs I took were portfolio-worthy. The memories shared, however, made it so much more worthwhile than any photograph ever could. And that, I truly believe, is why landscape photography is so special.
As I sit here, beginning to type out this essay, I look at the only coffee table photography book of Michael Kenna's which I own: Forms of Japan. This collection of over 300 of Kenna's photographs revolves around his work done throughout the years whilst in Japan. Included within the book are some of his most well-known and respected pieces he has ever created. It also just so happens to be the book that had introduced me to the intimacy, the delicacy, of his moody works. Though I had heard of him beforehand - being a black and white landscape photographer myself, it is rather difficult not to - my appreciation for his work was not as strong as it currently stands until I began flipping through this collection.
Due to the bulk of this book, it had taken me a solid week to flip through each of the pages, reading the introductions to each of the sections and the beautiful haikus which accompanied each photograph. The photographs which captured me the strongest were documented through the use of a sticky note, marking the pages for future reference, for future inspiration. When I arrived at page 166, however, I was taken aback. On the left-hand side of the spread stood a haiku by artist Matsuo Basho.
Look this way -
I, too, am lonely
Wow. Heart strings were tugged at immediately - and they still are. The connection I had with that simple poem was immediate. Never before had I felt what I feel when reading such a piece of writing.