Sakura
Project info

When I stand under the cherry tree and look up at the blossoms, I always feel as if I’m floating. The blossoms continue beyond my field of vision, each shimmering so beautifully, and it is impossible to see them all. I’ve been photographing cherry blossoms (sakura) for 20 years just to capture this experience. I use 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 inch film cameras to make large-format prints. I narrow the depth of field to a single point and let the foreground and background go out of focus, a technique I developed while working on the series ‘Mont Sainte Victoire’.

I visited Aix-en-Provence because I had long been fascinated by Mont Sainte Victoire, the mountain that Paul Cezanne painted so many times. I climbed the sacred mountain imagining what Cezanne had seen. I wanted to photograph the experience of seeing, not the landscape but the act of vision itself. I used differential focusing to create this experience. This technique produces a sense of spatial depth, making it difficult to distinguish between the foreground and the background, and forces the viewer to seek out the point in focus.

In "SAKURA" the blossoms of the intersecting branches appear melded together as one, making it difficult to distinguish the foreground from the the background. My work is about the experience of time and vision. The beauty of the sakura lies in the brevity of their blossoming, so I must rush to photograph their brilliance and vitality. I photograph sakura not as the conventional symbol of Japanese beauty but as an expression of the presence of time.