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Eriko Kaniwa

Just as there are infinite gradations between the light and shadow that make up the essence of photography, are there not also infinite forms that exist between living and non-living (organic and inorganic) The more I photograph nature, the more I wonder, how can we, today, perceive these in-between forms?

Even today, many landscapes exist in Japan that symbolize nature worship.

Extending from north to south in a long, thin constellation of islands, the Japanese archipelago is blessed with four distinct seasons and an abundance of fresh water, mountains, and sea. Here, appreciating the beauty of nature is a cultural tradition. I am affectionately proud of the values that have flourished within this natural context: the wabi-sabi aesthetic of imperfection and impermanence; the pursuit of subtle grace; the awareness that humans are a part of nature and are deeply entwined with its dynamics, both consciously and unconsciously. I wonder if this philosophical culture, characterized by empathy with nature, evolved not first and foremost from the natural landscape itself, but rather from the contemplation and perspectives of those who viewed it. ​

To take photographs and look at them is to become a witness to the manifestation of events that appear and disappear within the flow of time immemorial.  For me, photography is not a philosophical metaphor for death or the past, but rather a crystallization of the temporal dimension with which human react so vitally, achieved through the medium of light.  It is an action in the fourth dimension, and attempt to step outside the flow of time and grab hold of something to confirm that we live in a world side by side with death.

Beyond mere seeing lies contemplation and communication of the world. Is this not the responsibility of all those who engage in photography?


Beauty and art overcome the obstacles of language and distance, allowing us to experience, express, and share a feeling of respectful awe, as well as the moving realization that human beings exist as just one part of planet Earth.

To me, that is photography.  It is my hope that by building on the concepts of nature that have been passed down across generations in my native country of Japan, we will together be able to sense something, and compose a story.





Eriko Kaniwa






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