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Are you ready to welcome some peace back into your life? The serene beauty of Japanese photographer Koichiro Kurita’s platinum palladium landscapes will restore your faith in the world. His solo show Freedom of Spirit, Harmony with Nature is on view at 555 Gallery in South Boston through December 10, 2016. This is visual therapy at its best.
The idea that humans are one with nature is embraced in Japanese Buddhist tradition and echoed in Western spiritual literature. Decades ago, when Koichiro Kurita encountered a Japanese translation of “Walden” by the celebrated American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, it resonated so deeply with him that he quit his career as a successful commercial photographer and moved to wooded mountain havens in Japan and upstate New York. Now based in New York and Thoreau’s Massachusetts, he continues to unify his philosophy with his artistic practice by using “slow photography” methods in images that portray the mystique of the natural world.
Shooting with an 8”x10” view camera at a low camera angle that might describe the viewpoint of a small woodland animal, Kurita creates contemplative perspectives that emphasize the interfaces between land, water and sky, borders that accentuate the forces of nature. Sometimes using a single negative and other times creating more encompassing views with negatives combined into a careful grid, Kurita prints luscious B&W platinum palladium photographs on handmade Japanese Gampi paper, renowned for its long, smooth fibers that bestow a pearlescent sheen to the images.
Platinum palladium printing is one of the oldest, most stable and visually expressive methods of making photographs in the world. Since each print is created by hand using customized chemical formulas and papers, along with a lot of tinkering and time, every photograph is a unique work of art. More importantly, the method bestows an exquisite range of tones from black to white, subtle gradations that emphasize detail and dimensionality to create particularly sensitive landscapes. Add to that the warm, earthy hues that typify platinum palladium prints and Kurita’s graceful harmony of method and message are realized.
Kurita’s quiet meditations often focus on a detail in the landscape – a twig caught in a waterfall, droplets of water on leaves of grass, reflections of sky in water – that confer feelings of both intimacy and universality. With deep looking, his elegant balance of compositional elements slowly reveals opposing natural forces. “Still” and “moving” are not only visual perceptions but emotional ones in Kurita’s fluent, wordless poems.
For more information about this exhibit, go to: http://www.555gallery.com/
Feature Image: “Dark Cloud, Nagano, Japan, 1987” (detail) platinum palladium print on handmade Gampi paper by Koichiro Kurita (courtesy of 555 Gallery, Boston).