Isthmus

Thinking

The landscape
between places.

Images from a moving window
with David Irwin.

Today, time is a precious commodity. Our lives are bombarded by imagery every minute of the day. While slowing “it” down seems like a typical catch-cry for us all, it seems almost impossible to make it happen.

The camera is an unusual and useful device. It has the ability to freeze an image in time, and it does so in a fraction of a second, stopping the world, transforming the moving to the still.   The following photo essay, titled “The landscape between places ­— images from a moving window”, aims to capture that fleeting image of the landscape. The one that we see but perhaps don’t comprehend or acknowledge, the landscape between “places”.  The images capture the everyday Japanese landscape shot blindly though the glass of the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) window, or from other trains, boats, buses, escalators, bikes or gondolas. They are shot with haste, often in poor light, where the photographer has limited control as the moments flash on by. There is no coming back for better conditions, no adjustment of the lighting. They show distinctly the reality of that point in time. Often they reveal the movement inherent in travel and with high contrast they provide graphic reminders of the everyday landscape we simply miss, forget or somehow edit from our memory or take for granted. The aim is to show the Japanese landscape as one sees it ­— as a traveller on the move. The landscape between places. Not the beauty of typical travellers’ destinations: the temples of Kyoto or the drama of Tokyo, but the everyday landscape within which people live and work. It is not to say that the images are without beauty, as much as it is to say that beauty is inherent in all things, or question if it’s relevant at all. The Japanese have the concept of wabi-­­sabi ­— the finding of beauty in the imperfections, valuing the soul of things as they are. Perhaps we just need to slow it down at times to see it more clearly.