This collection of images is a record of my personal journey through a time of sorrow, which also coincided with my exploration of Japan. I arrived here from New York in 2014, fascinated, but also apprehensive. I am now trying to share a story of how Japan has taught me to appreciate darkness; or –in the words of Junichiro Tanizaki – to „seek fragile beauty of feeble light.”
It was actually Tanizaki’s seminal essay „In Praise of Shadows” which provided important inspiration for this book (and for numerous journeys to Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura, where most of my photographs were taken).
Another was a short poem by Kazumasa Nagai, found in a beautifully illustrated collection „To live is to create.” One of his poems contains two words: 命 - life; and 神秘 - mystery, something difficult to comprehend. In the Japanese, the first kanji used in „mystery” also denotes „gods.” My photography is an attempt to approach that Mystery. I am hoping to convey the awe and gratitude in the face of immeasurable beauty of creation, but also submerge myself in the darkness and shadows that form part of the cycle of life.
In my work, which extends from documentary and cultural to fine art photography, the tension between lights and shadows has always been important. Born in Poland, I grew up experiencing deep darkness of harsh winters and dazzling light of eerie summers. While in Japan I learned to appreciate that tension even more and this collection attests to that. Inspired by Zen and the philosophy of wabi-sabi, these photographs are a form of meditation – an attempt to appreciate each moment, to embrace life’s flaws and imperfections, to find stillness and inner focus.