Scans from Prints 20
Tree. Sumo Ring. Suwa, Japan, 1995.
Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Wyndstone vellum) from 8×10 original negative.
I wrote more about this image, zen and William Blake some three years ago. I think it apt to repost with a more accurate scan today, because last night Rachel and I spent a few precious hours with our friends Masao and Reiko Yamamoto, at his opening of work from ‘Kawa’, which means Flow, at Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta. They live near the town of Suwa. We talked about meeting up in Tanzania to photograph giraffes together, and I thought, I’ve done something like that in Japan. Here’s my giraffe. Circles. More circles: one of the first photographs I took at around the age of three, and still have a print, is of a giraffe somewhere in the Serengeti plains. Gliding vertical lines interrupting the savannah. The snow had just started to fall as I set up an 8×10 camera in Suwa’s largest Shinto shrine. The care with which every possible view had been anticipated by Suwa Taisha’s designers, always reminding me of my proper place in this place, was almost overwhelming–until I saw the tree, breaking and cracking its way though the sumo ring, defying the brilliance of speckled snow on granite gravel and becoming a platinum-palladium print. This print is part of the Prayer and Despair series.