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ConceptShinji Ichikawa : The essence

I was born to a family who ran a photo studio; thus, I was raised in an environment surrounded by photography. The town where I was born and grew up is famous as the spot where Japanese spirits would come to gather from all over the country in the tenth month of the old calendar.

I was born to a family who ran a photo studio; thus, I was raised in an environment surrounded by photography. The town where I was born and grew up is famous as the spot where Japanese spirits would come to gather from all over the country in the tenth month of the old calendar.

Growing up in a place like that, I am powerfully drawn to the world of the surreal, to things that are mysterious and out of ordinary. Japan is reputedly home to innumerable spirits, known as kami, and it is believed that these spirits inhabit all sorts of entities. Sensing the truth of this, I sometimes find that the people and things I encounter are difficult to approach, catching my attention as they exude something of this unseen world.

This project is an attempt to discover the essence of that “something” so different from the everyday life. It is also a way of stimulating and provoking new perspectives in those who view it. !
Two things I feel to be important elements in the composition of my photographs are the sense of distance from the subject and the careful observation of the space surrounding it. I have taken inspiration from painting and sculpture, which constitute major influences on me. When I was in New York, I would frequently visit galleries in search of ideas for my photography. My current expressions reflect the influence of many paintings. I saw, particularly those of the Surrealists.

I shoot with a digital camera, since it seems significant to me to capture the contemporary age with the technology that is prevalent in it. And in some of my works, I find that using Photoshop to darken spurious backdrops to a minimum draws the eye to the important sections, making it easier to see the elements I perceived and convey my intention to the viewer.

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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