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Silent Japan – Reflections of 3.11

Exactly a year ago, my wife Laura and I travelled to the Kansai region of Japan. It was less than a month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11th. Though we were far away from the tsunami affected region, the earthquake and the effects of it weighed heavily on our minds during the whole trip. We were privileged to be able to show our support and solidarity with the Japanese by our presence as visitors to the country dipped to an all-time low then. A number of the locals were visibly touched that we came nonetheless; we made new friends and have been keeping in touch with some of them since.

Since my Silent Japan exhibition in 2010, I have been expanding the series from the original 18 prints exhibited to around 55 prints now. The following 3 photographs are new in the Silent Japan series and in some way or another capture some of my reflections on the earthquake and tsunami during my visit.

The first photograph was taken in Miyajima, the second in Kyoto, and the third in Kurashiki. The white particles on the water in the third photograph are cherry blossom petals. Cherry blossoms fall at the moment of their greatest beauty; so the joy of viewing these flowers is always tinged with a bit of sadness. For the Japanese, they are an embodiment of “hakanasa,” a word that conveys the fragility or evanescence of life.

“Come, see real flowers of this painful world.” ~ Matsuo Basho

Like the rest of the Silent Japan series, all photographs are printed on Washi (handmade japanese paper).