Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Naoya Hatakeyama: Natural Stories

Lime Hills by Naoya Hatakeyama

In a comment on my last post, James mentioned Edward Burtynsky’s quarry photos which are really striking and highly recommended for anyone who hasn’t seen them. Coincidentally, SF MOMA currently has an exhibit of photos by a Japanese photographer, Naoya Hatakeyama, who works in the same vein as Burtynsky, photographing large scale human impacts on the landscape, including quarries. His Lime Hills (Quarry Series) has images where the quarries are horrible scars, but also ones where they seem quite sculptural and aesthetic.

Naoya Hatakeyama, Lime Hills (Quarry Series)

Naoya Hatakeyama, A Bird/Blast

Along with the photos, at the museum there is also a very cool video (titled Twenty-Four Blasts) of quarry blasting. If you sit up close to the screen, the explosions fill your vision. The video doesn’t seem to be online, but SF MOMA posted a slideshow of stills from the best sequence.

Naoya Hatakeyama, Still from Twenty-Four Blasts

I went to the exhibit to see the quarry series, but probably the most powerful images — especially in light of the superstorm blasting the east coast right now — are of his hometown in Japan, Rikuzentakata, which was destroyed by last year’s tsunami. It was impressive to see such carefully composed photos, knowing that this was his hometown and that his mother died in the event. He talks about it in a video at Wired.

— Places Journal has an article written by him, talking about his work, including an interesting take on how horizontal and vertical elements are either lying down or standing up. —

Naoya Hatakeyama

There was also a slideshow of his photos of the town before the tsunami, and though the exhibitors chose not to present the before and after photos as literal side by side comparisons, there was an eerie similarity to some of the compositions. I tried drawing thumbnails at the speed of the slideshow — twenty seconds per image — and then later colored them at about the same pace. It’s rather off-topic for this blog, but completely current with all of the images of flooding on the east coast, so I included them below the fold.

2 Responses to “Naoya Hatakeyama: Natural Stories”

  1. November 2nd, 2012 at 9:35 am

    James says:

    I was up to the City and Berkeley for a crazy-quick pair of days last weekend and managed to squeeze this show into the schedule. Yes, I was impressed, too. Hatakeyama, like Edward Burtynsky and Richard Misrach and others before them have done some terrific work in the beauty-out-of-destruction vein.

    I like your sketches of the photos. Definitely timely. I’m glad people are still taking sketchbooks to the galleries, particularly to draw the less-obvious models of what’s appropriate to put down on paper or pixels.

  2. November 6th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    ryan says:

    That’s great you got a chance to see the show. Your photos fit into the same vein I would think. It’s one of my favorite areas of photography.

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