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Silent Japan

The Silent Japan series is a marked departure from my usual focus on people and their interaction with their environments. It features photographs of the Japanese landscape mainly devoid of people. Where I have chosen to include people, there is a sense of the transient nature of their passing, much like the landscapes they find themselves in.

Taken over multiple trips to Japan in various locations on the main island of Honshu and the island of Hokkaido, Silent Japan features a quiet stillness that reflects my impressions of the land. The photographs capture pockets of tranquility as well as the solitary, simple and austere beauty of the places in Japan that were visited. By focusing on the natural, ordinary and often rustic objects, the viewer is invited to discover the innate beauty found in the exquisite patterns left by the flow of nature and man. The series is rooted in the Japanese aesthetics of wabi-sabi that is commonly defined as the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. My choice of using black and white instead of colour further adds to the timeless quality of the photographs, evoking a sense of melancholy and the transience of life.

Some of the photographs from this series was taken about a month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th 2011. On that trip, I travelled to the Kansai region of Japan. Though farther away from the tsunami affected region, the earthquake and its detrimental effects weighed heavily on my mind and no doubt affected the way I photographed things.

“All around, no flowers in bloom
Nor maple leaves in glare,
A solitary fisherman’s hut alone
On the twilight shore
Of this autumn eve.”
~ Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241)

Prints for this series are available for sale as a limited edition or an open edition.

  • The limited edition comes in an edition of 5 and is printed on Washi (Japanese handmade paper). Printing on Washi adds to the feeling of wabi-sabi with the paper’s organic deckled edges, subtle surface texture as well as imperfections that might appear on the paper’s surface over time. The Washi is individually made by hand in Japan using Mulberry and Hemp fibers. The Washi paper has a weight of 300gsm. There are some examples of how the photographs look like on Washi as well as how they are matted and framed in the following post : Silent Japan Series Showcased.
    • Pricing (includes matting and framing) is S$1600 for a 14×14″ print on A2 Washi paper and S$900 for an 8×8″ print on A3 Washi paper.
    • I also have one set of matted and framed Artist Proofs from my 2010 Silent Japan solo exhibition for sale. These are the prints (8×8″ on an A3 size Washi) that were displayed during the exhibition at the Arts House. These are going for a special price of S$700. 
  • The open edition is printed on warm tone Harman Gloss Baryta Warmtone inkjet paper. It has a weight of 320gsm. For buyers who prefer a print that would withstand Singapore’s humid climate better and be less prone to foxing (brown spots over time), the open edition is a good option.
    • Pricing (includes matting and framing) is S$750 for a 14×14″ print on A2 inkjet paper and S$400 for an 8×8″ print on A3 inkjet paper.

Personally, I think this series works best on the Washi paper as the ‘look’ is quite different when printed on the Harman inkjet paper. I actually love the unpredictable nature of the foxing that happens on the Washi paper as it adds a certain organic charm to the presentation of the photographs.

The following is a gallery of the photographs from my Silent Japan series. The caption below each photo also indicates what is available for sale (LE A3 = Limited Edition on A3 Washi paper size, LE A2 = Limited Edition on A2 Washi paper size, O = Open Edition on A2 or A3 inkjet paper size, and AP = Artist Proof on A3 Washi paper size).

If you are interested in purchasing or enquiring about any of the images, drop me a note via the contact me link. The Artist Proofs are immediately available while the Limited Edition and Open Edition takes about about 2 to 4 weeks for printing, matting and framing. If you would like the images printed in other sizes please let me know and I will see if it is possible.

Torii, Study 1, Shirakawa Hachimangu Shrine, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Ema, Study 2, Shirakawa Hachimangu Shrine, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Private Garden, Study 3, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

One and two half stones, Tokyo, Honshu, Japan. 2008. (LE A3, O, AP)

Rakan Statues, Study 3, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 8, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Tree, Study 2, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Mossy Steps, Study 2, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Torii, Study 2, Shirakawa Hachimangu Shrine, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP) {This image is meant to be paired with the next image and hung side by side}

Photographer, Shirakawa Hachimangu Shrine, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP) {This image is meant to be paired with the previous image and hung side by side}

Zen Garden, Study 2, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A2, O)

Hilltop Trees, Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. 2010. (LE A3, O, AP)

Hakone Shrine, Hakone, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Pier at Dusk, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Zori, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Genbaku Dome, Study 3, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O).

Torii Reflection, Study 2, Miyajima, Japan. 2011. (LE A2, O)

Private Garden, Study 7, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 3, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Tree Patterns, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Floating Sakura Petals, Study 4, Kurashiki, Honshu, Japan, 2011. (LE A2, O)

Old House, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Hillside, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, Japan. 2008. (LE A3, O)

Autumn Leaf, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Zen Garden, Study 2, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Torii, Study 4, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Door Stone, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Rakan Statues, Study 5, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Row of Trees, Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. 2010. (LE A3, O, AP)

Poles, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Kanazawa Castle Lady, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 3, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 7, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Sakura Castle, Study 2, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 1, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Sakura Pony, Study 1, Osaka, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A2, O)

Sunset, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, Japan. 2008. (LE A3, O, AP)

Stone Blocks, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Roots, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Runaway Swan, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Temple Garden, Takayama, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Tree, Study 1, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, Japan. 2008. (LE A3, O, AP)

Roof Detail, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Sakura Petals, Okayama, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 1, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Floating Sakura Petals, Study 2, Kurashiki, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A2, O)

Treebeard, Kanazawa, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Rakan Statues, Study 1, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Zen Garden, Study 5, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Hilltop Tree, Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. 2010. (LE A3, O, AP)

Mount Fuji, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Sakura Castle, Study 3, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Torii, Study 2, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O, AP)

Zen Garden, Study 6, Kyoto, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A2, O)

Sakura Petals, Miyajima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)

Silent Pier, Lake Ashi, Honshu, Japan. 2009. (LE A3, O)

Sakura Castle, Study 4, Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. 2011. (LE A3, O)