Born in Chiba, Japan. 1980.
Lives and works in Tokyo.
In 2009, there were some 2900 dams in Japan. These constructions are increasingly numerous, even if they entail flooding villages off the map. The photographer travelled the country to discover these concrete structures, one more enormous than the next. His approach was motivated by reading Alex Kerr’s book «Dogs and Demons». The author reveals edifying cracks that seem to be undermining the country from the inside. The critical orientation, which is undeniably political, is based on veriable elements: entire riverlled with concrete, construction of dams and roads that go nowhere … but that swallow up the taxpayer’s money. With the curiosity of a reporter and the sensitivity of a hiker, Shunsuke Ohno took off on a photographic pilgrimage. He was fascinated by the landscapes that opened up to him, and enchanted by the power of Man over Nature, as destructive as it may be. Initially, he was peeved by the idea of admiring such an offensive view, but nally he gave into the beauty of the places around him. «When I set out on this route that took me from one city to another, I went through districts, villages, mountains, over bridges, into tunnels annally on to dams. That is when the state of stress and agitation that had accompanied me since the town calmed down, giving way to a more peaceful feeling: the feeling that you should take things as they come, as they appear before you.»
«Landamscapes» take us to a misty country hidden under autumn leaves. Like the character of a fairy tale who lifts up a branch to discover an entire world, the viewer is projected into a decor that would suit «Star Wars». The dams, these public constructions designed by Man, whose presence remains imperceptible, have a false resemblance to abandoned space stations. There is nothing natural in the colours. Roads become rivers. The bridges, the vegetation, even the smooth, domesticated land – everything seems tow, to be liqueed to espouse the lines traced by the dams. From one image to the next, we can hear soothing waterfalls.
Shunsuke Ohno’s photographs have the surprising power to solicit all our senses. They gently plunge us into a state of contemplation, and draw us along. Into a photographic reverence at the heart of Buddhist values. Shunsuke told us: «In the past, Japanese houses were made from wood and paper. Some of these unique techniques are still used, for example in sacred Ise Jingu shrine dedicated to the imperial family. The ancestral constructions last and the know-how is not lost. But times have changed and modern methods use concrete for its earthquake anre resistance, as well as for lower cost.» Surprisingly, this historical reference carries no judgment. And while the «Landamscapes» images reveal a point of no return, the landscapes show the same balance that frees up a space of pure contemplation.
Shunsuke Ohno was born in 1980 in Chiba, Japan. He studied artistic media and photographic theory for four years at Art and Info Design University of Tama. In 2004, he joined the advertising agency Hakuhodo Products where for three years he developed his skills of using camera, light and digital techniques. He has been working freelance since 2007. Man and his environment, both urban and rural, are the main focus of his photographs. Recently, Shunsuke Ohno is particularly interested in the impact of Man on the Nature.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist