Fine Art : Animism 0 Mystic Forest

Artist Statement

People in Japan have, since ancient times, held a belief toward natural creations, such as trees, rocks, and water as the resting place of Gods.  The giant trees and ancient trees we see today have survived various natural disasters, and people have worshiped them as extraordinary living things reflecting their appreciation and thoughts in various ways.

When I visited historical shrines and temples, I realized a flow of culture that contributed to the building of shrine pavilions and shrine gates around natural creations over a period of time, ranging from centuries to millennia, with the progress of architectural technology.  Perhaps, since long before people started having a concept of forming countries, underlying thoughts that Gods and Animistic Spirits were resting in natural world exited not only in Japan but across the globe where ancient Animism and Sharmanism had been practiced.  This belief eventually merged into people’s daily lives and played an active part in them.  Trees were the symbol of resting places for Gods and Spirits, which served as people’s spiritual comfort.  Rocks were the symbol of eternity, which also revitalized people’s spirits.  Water was the source of all life, which also cleansed and purified things and minds of people.  Rain was the symbol of God’s blessing, and people were thankful.  Thunder was the sign of wrath of God, and people looked back and reflected on what they had done in the past.  As such, it shows how natural phenomena and the existence of God and Sprit were closely connected in ancient times.  Ancient people created a lifestyle culture where they paid respect to the nature as a whole and performed a number of important tasks in their daily life.

Such belief must have been a foundation for our ancient culture which contributed to an evolution and formation of many distinctive cultures at present time.  I also realized that we now have less opportunity to feel thankful for nature, hence wide range of living organisms are slowly disappearing, It may be the time for us to move the time backwards to re-think the ancient people’s way of respecting nature for our ever-lasting evolution.

I am expressing spiritual essence of nature through my photographs by illuminating those natural creations which are the oldest living organisms on the planet.  I created the Animism Series for my audiences to feel the warmth of the nature and see exciting world of brightly lit illusion.  I hope they feel nostalgic about ancient life culture where natural creations and blessings were all appreciated.  I have taken advantage of the expressive capacities of photography for my audience to explore the mysterious world of nature though the works of Animism Series.

日本には古来より木、岩、水などの自然創造物に神々が宿るという考えが根強く残っています。大木や樹齢の長い木は、天変地異にも耐えた特別な存在として祭られ、感謝と信仰の対象となってきました。

私は日本の古い神社仏閣を訪問したとき、時が経ち建築文化が進み、数千年をかけ自然創造物を中心に社殿や鳥居が建立(こんりゅう)された文化の流れに気づかされました。おそらく自然界に神や精霊が宿るという考え方は、日本だけでなく、人々が国を形成するという概念を持つ遥か昔から世界各地でアニミズムやシャーマニズムとして人々の生活に浸透していたのだと思います。「木々」は神や精霊が宿ると信じ安らぎを求め、「岩」は永遠の象徴として活力をもらい、命の源である「水」で物を清め、「雨」は神からの恵みとして感謝し、「雷」は神からの叱りとして反省する、などというように、自然現象を神や精霊に結びつけることで自然をうやまい生活をしてきた文化がありました。

その考えは、多くの文化が今に至るまでの重要な通過点であったのではないでしょうか。自然を尊ぶことも少なくなり失われつつある現代、私たちは考え方を少し昔に戻すことで更なる進化が遂げられることを必要としているのかもしれません。

私は、地球上の長老である自然創造物に光を当てることで写真を通して木魂(こだま)を表現し、自然創造物より神徳と恵みをもらい尊んできた古来生活文化を思い出しながら、自然の温もりと幻想的な世界を感じてもらえるよう、アニミズム・シリーズの作品を創りました。

0:  Mystic Forest

私達は、日々、四季を通じて変化する木々や草花、そして長い年月をかけて変化する岩や川を見て自然を楽しむことができます。しかし自然の中に身をゆだねてみると、日常気づかなかった力強い自然の息吹を肌で、心で、一体となり感じ取ることができます。その様な目に見えない自然の中で感じるいのちを光で表現してみました。