temple trees, nara 2002, Michael Kenna

With all of the continuing bad news surrounding the Fukushima nuclear accident, I thought I’d share a few really beautiful albiet melancholy film and photography works taken in Japan that I’ve uncovered in the last few weeks. Enjoy.

I was familiar with the work of Michael Kenna, who also has an amazing body of work that includes an entire book on Japan but came across another phototgrapher, who works in a similar style named Michael Levin.  They must get confused quite often but I have to admit that I like Levin’s stripped down aesthetic a little more. Kenna seems to work to create a slightly more romantic effect, especially obvious upon viewing some images from other parts of the world. Both are amazing.

The film above documents Levin’s process shooting and locations in what appears to be mostly coastal regions in northern Japan. The film is good,  but the still images are better.

The second film is a real fluke find.  I was renewing a subscription to Surfers Journal (fantastic photography in that as well) and noticed a video link for Hokkaido visuals with Dan Malloy as part of the film making team. (The embed doesn’t seem to want to work so get there with the link above).  Although Dan is not one of the two film making Malloy Brothers of September Sessions and Thicker than Water fame or in collaboration with Chris Malloy who was part of the Yvon Chouinard, Patgonia adventure flick 180 Degrees South, he puts together an amazing five and a half minute short that captures the sense of coastal Japan in the winter.  I think what really amazes me about all of the Malloy film projects is the really great music.  Hokkaido Visuals uses Tom Waits’ Alice as a soundtrack to great effect to accompanying a very simple, honest and direct film making style.


About jim gerlach

A seasoned landscape architect living and working on beautiful Vashon Island.
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