Japanese Photographer Miki Kojima has taken these two series of photographs ‘Taiso Yohmei’ and ‘From New Zealand’ from Japan and New Zealand respectively. They are both landscape series, they both are highly evocative.
These enigmatic black and white photographs speak an expressive language. They are simultaneously strong and muted. Subtle yet dramatic, dream-like and full of presence. Kojima does not present a literal description of landscape. Nor does he subscribe to scenic traditions of ‘beautiful New Zealand’. Kojima’s lens is pointed into Taiso Yohmei: the darkness of chaos within which the life-force exists.
He speaks of a light that radiates out from this inner life force, emerging out of a blackness that is yet not empty. This is a beauty of a completely different order - austere, abstract, evocative.
It is an interesting inversion of the usual approach to photography, where reflected light is made to describe outward appearances. Here the viewer must enter into the same spirit of inward looking-ness of these very dark prints, with the same ‘pure and open frame of mind’ as the photographer had when making the images.
Like the dense but light, mist-laden bush in Jane Campion’s film The Piano, these photographs invest New Zealand landscape with a subterranean magic all its own.
Miki Kojima has exhibited extensively through Japan as well as in the Guggenheim Memorial Gallery, California. He was born in 1957 at Zushi-shi in the Kanagawa Prefecture, graduating from the Soukei Art Academy in 1980 and the Tokyo Photographic Academy in 1982.