jungle

There is a Jungle if Your Framing is Right

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Konodai Jungle View, Ichikawa-shi

A friend once told me a story about the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.  Kurosawa was being questioned about the way he framed a particular shot in a movie and the questioner was reading into the framing to much.  Kurosawa, stopped him and said that he had no choice but to frame the image in this way because to the left and right were industrial factories.

I often think of this statement when I am in the process of framing an image.  Photographers are constantly editing their photographs even before they manifest themselves out of the camera’s body.  Photographers make choices, and those choices reflect the meanings embedded within the frame of the images.

I view each opportunity to compose within my viewfinder as the first step in editing my images.  What I don’t show is often as important as the way in which the objects find themselves arranged in the photograph.

This image appears to be a jungle, but it isn’t a jungle.  It is in fact shot from the third floor of a building on a small university campus.  This is what I saw at that particular time and place, fused with my mental state.

There are jungles out there where there are no wilds.

 

Nokogiriyama, The Lost Quarry of Chiba Prefecture

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

My friend Tomo and I have a tradition over the last couple years of selecting a location that neither of us have been to before.  After we find the place to visit we load up our camera gear and head out to the location.  This year we chose to go to Nokogiriyama in Chiba Prefecture.  Nokogiriyama literally means sawed cut mountain in Japanese.  It was an active stone quarry from the Edo times up until Show (20th century).  It has now been taken over by a large temple complex and the walls and carved caves are filled with buddhist sculptures.

One TV show described Nokogiriyama as a place that Indiana Jones would visit.  And this I found to be a bit true.  The jungle side of Chiba Prefecture was quickly engulfing the deep cut walls of the quarry, and there were, at times, mysterious stone steps that lead nowhere.

As my friend and I made our way up the hundreds of steps the sounds of the summer and also the autumn cicadas was deafening.  The air was as thick as miso soup, but we were fortunate because the sun was hiding behind the clouds, and therefore the weather wasn’t that bad.  By the time we reached the top of the mountain the fog was just starting to wash over the the stone face.  It was pretty amazing.  I hadn’t really seen any fog since I had left the San Francisco Bay area ten years ago.  Just standing there watching the fog roll up one side of the mountain and then dissipate over the other.

There is a lookout point called “Peering Into Hell” on the top of the mountain.  Not quite sure why they call it hell, because the view is quite amazing.  It was jungle below, with the vertical quarry walls dropping vertically below our feet.

It was a great day to wander around the sprawling complex.  So removed from the hustle of Tokyo life.  I sometimes forget that there is more to life in Japan that the daily grind.  I am thankful for my friend Tomo for driving us out to Nokogiriyama, and for reminding us both of the beautiful intersection between the manmade and the wild jungle.

The Peering Over Hell Overlook, Nokogiri Yama

Cut Wall with Climbing Vine, Nokogiri Yama

Cut Cliff Face, Nokogiri Yama

Sliced Valley with Stairs, Nokogiri Yama

By the Docks, Shinagawa

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I needed to head to Shinagawa to renew my visa today.  If you think the bureaucracy in the states is bad, it is nothing compared to the Japanese. Well at least they are usually polite, usually.  After I was done I took a stroll, or I should say a bit of an urban hike from the waterside of Shinagawa all the way to the luxury brand infused stores of Ginza.

To many pictures to choose for a day, so I will just post a few from the waterside, heartland of industry, freight and the out of the way immigration office.

74 8104 with Two Mailboxes and a Clear Umbrella

Industry Dockside Cuts

Planting Weeds

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