I hope this issue of my newsletter finds you in fine fettle. I'm finally touching ground a bit even though I arrived back from Japan just over two weeks ago! There are never enough hours in the day to do what I want (and need) to do, so I'm now in the business of prioritising priorities — but it's all part of the fun ...
In this issue I have some great updates for you in terms of photography experiences (including African safaris) as well as news and some special offers. As the Bard famously never said: "Read on, Macduff!"
Johannes von Stumm, Lisa Cirenza, Claudia De Grandi and I were warmly welcomed and supported throughout our stay in Kyoto by Jo Ishida and Tomoko Matsubara of the JARFO Gallery, and we really can't thank them enough for all their efforts and hospitality on our behalf. They introduced us to several extraordinary local artists, artistic practices, experiences (including a visit to the public baths) and — very importantly — good places to eat!
Our arrival in Japan coincided perfectly with that of the cherry blossoms ("sakura" in Japanese) so we couldn't have asked for better timing. Sakura was a key feature in most of the artworks that Lisa, Claudia and I prepared for our exhibition at the Gallery. (Johannes had made a wonderful little sculpture puzzle of glass, bamboo, wood and paper.) Towards the end we all felt that we had seen enough pink for a while ... Personally I'm now looking forward to going back and experiencing Kyoto in the autumn at some point.
Japan was an absolutely incredible experience in many ways: culturally, artistically, professionally, gastronomically — not to mention in terms of physical activity! I walked about 100 miles in the three weeks I was there, trying to explore as much of Kyoto as I physically could. I also had a day trip to the ancient capital of Nara, which is an amazing place. Nara contains the world's largest wooden structure — Todai-ji's Daibutsu-den — which (mind-bogglingly) was rebuilt to only two-thirds the size of the original in 1709.
Perhaps the most significant impact of the trip is that artistically it may well prove to be a turning point in my own photographic vision and practice. The perfection that the Japanese masters achieve with simple subjects and forms is staggering, but the simplicity is only superficial: underlying it is phenomenal skill, almost superhuman dedication to one's art and craft, and a fanatical attention to detail (i.e. selecting only the absolutely essential elements in a composition and making them "sing" to their utmost potential). Life just got a whole lot more challenging and exciting!
You can read about my experiences and see some pictures on a special Kyoto Diary entry in my Blog. I will be adding pictures to the Diary over the next month or so. If your Netflix subscription has expired and you're at a loose end on a rainy afternoon then you can also watch a 20 minute video of our residence and exhibition on my YouTube channel.