#12, Akita, 2004
gelatin silver print
Presented in "Sakura" are black and white pinhole photographs of the glorious displays of blooming cherry trees at the time of "Sakura Matsuri", the annual cherry blossom festival in Japan.
Aramasa employs the pinhole process for this series, a primitive photographic technique that functions like a miniature camera obscura, where light passes through tiny opening in a lensless camera and registers the image directly on film. The considered choice of this basic photographic method with its inherent immediacy reflects Aramasa's desire to directly mirror his experience of this spectacular event in nature. The images are soft rather than sharp, due to the lack of a focusing lens and the long exposures required, and this resulting "blurriness" and distortion lends an effect of delirious motion to the imagery as the ephemeral blossoms fall from the trees and dust the landscape.
"Sakura Matsuri" has been depicted in paintings and songs of ancient times in Japan, and there are many rituals and traditions associated with the springtime blooming, an event of great national celebration. Millions gather to marvel at the spectacular display of the blooming, and revelers travel from region to region during the spring months following the cherry blossom front as it sweeps from Okinawa northward to Hokkaido.
Aramasa's uniquely visionary examination of this phenomenal yearly occurrence follows from his long history as a chronicler of the culture of modern Japan through photography. Aramasa is perhaps best known for his photography of deserted internment camps that once housed Japanese Americans during WWII in the United States and Russia, as well as photographs of Japanese immigration.
Exhibition: April 20 - May 28, 2005
Gallery hours: Tue-Fri 9:30 am - 5:30 pm,
Sat 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Stephen Wirtz Gallery
49 Geary Street, 3rd Floor
USA-San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone +1 415 433-6879
Fax +1 415 433-1608