Yumiko Kinoshita is a Japanese photographer whose delicate images make me immediately think of brightness and lightness.
In the following essay she speaks about the importance of travel in her life and her photographic work. In addition to the description of a photographic session in Ireland, Yumiko Kinoshita writes some ideas about art that I completely share. As she does I love art and contemporary photography, but often I wish the importance of a conceptual statement to be resized, that contemporary photography could have a universal that people can share, regardless of all the conceptual ideas that we can associate with it.
Following text and pictures by Yumiko Kinoshita.
Lately, I have done an exhibition titled “Beyond the Land’s End”. I would like to explain how I came across the idea of this series. This is how it happened.
I was in Ireland for shooting. We were driving north towards a beach and it was strange weather. Rain and snow were falling in turn, and sometimes there were even hailstones. We also had a little bit of sunlight but it disappeared right away. It was very strange, like all kinds of weather got together in one bottle. Only the strong wind kept on howling all the time. We kept heading towards the beach anyway.
Even though we parked the car near the beach, it seemed impossible to walk to the beach. The strong wind was still blowing, and the snowy rain didn’t seem to stop. Also, it was so cold. “What shall we do?”, we thought. Then, the rain suddenly stopped and the sun came out to light up our way to the beach. We hurried out of the car and rushed to the beach passing through a little path.
The thing waiting for me was a glorious and solemn landscape. It was a pretty flat space, but low white sand hills spread out as far as we could see. The grass on the sand hills was almost blown away by the strong wind and was glowing gold. The shallow water was very calm and was endlessly transparent. The strong wind and blowing sand made it hard for me to open my eyes, but there existed some sort of tranquility that exceeded everything. Graciousness and deep loneliness were melting together into the generous landscape.
Being immersed in taking pictures, I forgot that everyone had already gone back to the car.
The scenery disappeared as the sun went away and it started raining again. It was just 10 to 15 minutes, but the moment stills leaves a strong impression in my mind.
On the way back to the car, I met a horse that was not there on they way up to the beach. The gentle-eyed creature came to me and stayed for a while. I took a picture of it, and then went back to the car.
This experience helped me to remember that travel always takes me somewhere like this.
I love travel, and I especially love travel to the end of lands, or places where has nothing but open space. There always exists tranquility, graciousness and deep loneliness. It always purifies my inner self. And, I feel there is no art higher than something nature makes.
Based on this idea, I decided to make a series called “Beyond the Land’s End”. The collection of these images from my trip will condense the feeling of “Land’s End”.
Even though I have done one exhibition in Tokyo this year, the series is not completed yet. In this series, I now have pictures from Ireland, US, France, Switzerland, Canada, Portugal, and several parts of Japan. I would like to pursue this theme for my entire life. It cannot happen all at once because I am collecting just one piece from each place I travel. But there exists common feeling behind in each piece. I think when more and more pieces come together, the same feeling behind the pictures will appear clearer.
Photography and travels
Like this series, I always make series about travels. Actually, I have not really thought about it by now. It is natural as that to me. And in fact, it is great that I have always had chances to travel, on business, friends’ matters, or just private.
When I was a child, I was always listening the stories of NY from my father as he had been living there before I was born. I was always excited about the stories and dreamt about it. NY was so much far, and it existed only in my bedtime stories. Since then, I guess I have been dreaming about traveling. Of course I have been to quite many countries by now, but still, I have the same dream to the places that I have never been.
Travels always bring me lots of beautiful surprises. And more than anything else, I am addicted to experience the things like that in Ireland. I want to see more glorious sceneries that will move me as many as possible in my life. I do not know if my trip can be called my photography mission, but the quest of sceneries that give me a special moment is now a big reason of traveling.
In the way, the series, “Beyond the Land’s End “ will explain why I travel a lot too.
Photography as Poetry
I know nowadays that artworks have some stronger uniqueness or messages, or some sort of extremity. I of course personally enjoy artworks, but I would rather love something universal for my own works rather than pursuing the uniqueness. Classic art like old paintings of portraits and landscapes may sound closer to me.
Of course they are beautiful with light and everything, but also have something universal that people can share. I think the scenery and landscapes that caught my eyes and gave me such feelings have a universal message, like old paintings have something universal in common. They are not just beautiful, but always speak to me to take me to beyond where I am.
Also, like paintings, I always love to have a sense of poetry in my works. I love when it has some space for the beholders to dream like reading poetry. Thus I do not eagerly explain the details about each of my pictures since I feel telling all the facts about the pictures get beholders back to the reality. I want to leave all the freedom to the beholders to feel or dream from the photographs.
In this way, photographs can be a window to go somewhere, and this is what I love about photography.
I am still on the way, and have to work a lot more to realize what I want to do, but I am happy if my pictures will lighten up somebody’s day or if someone can dream from my pictures.