Documentary PhotographyPERFECT LIGHTCompelling Authentic Timeless

Michael Kenna – Huangshan

Last year when I acquired a copy of Michael Kenna‘s Hokkaido (I wrote a short review  – see Michael Kenna – Hokkaido), I also bought a copy of his then new book titled Huangshan. Huangshan also by Nazraeli Press features a wonderful collection of 46 duotone photographs Kenna took of China’s Yellow Mountain range over a period of 3 years.

The blurb from the publisher: “Huangshan is the name given to a whole range of mountains in Anhui province in eastern China. Also called Yellow mountain, the range is particularly known for its uniquely-shaped granite peaks, ubiquitous pine trees that literally grow out of the rock faces, and the ever changing configurations of flowing clouds as seen from above. Huangshan has been a source of inspiration and a muse for Chinese painters and poets throughout history. It continues to inspire artists today, including Michael Kenna. These forty-six photographs, which Kenna made over a period of three years, capture both the sublimity and grandeur of these peaks, and quietly reflect on our human interaction with nature. Kenna has written a brief introduction which describes some of his experiences on Huangshan. Arguably the most influential photographer of his generation, Michael Kenna is the subject of over 35 monographs. Beautifully printed in our special Daido black ink on uncoated art paper, this First printing of Huangshan is limited to 1,000 casebound copies.

Michael Kenna continues to be my favourite landscape photographer; or rather, at the moment, the only landscape photographer whose work I really enjoy. I continue to be drawn towards his work because of the wonderful ethereal mood of his photographs. It is kind of silly but while going through Huangshan, I kept on imagining the animated character Po from “Kung Fu Panda” training with Master Shifu in some mysterious misty mountain, much like those featured in Kenna’s Huangshan. :P That is one of the wonderful things about photography. The best photographs somehow have the ability to evoke emotions, thoughts and memories within the viewer.

I like what Kenna says at the end of his introduction to Huangshan:

“During the many days spent walking, waiting and watching on Huangshan, I came to accept, more clearly than ever, that all the moments I spent there were perfect in their own way. I had intially approached Huangshan as a curious tourist and photographer. I left feeling more like a humble pilgrim, filled with great respect, reverence and honor for this incredible place.”

In a way, he sums up nicely what many photographers encounter when they are faced with incredible natural beauty. The following are some photos of the book. The book is into its second printing (limited to 2,000 copies). Highly Recommended! It is available on Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK).

All photographs featured on this post © Michael Kenna