Reminiscent of the Zen ink-wash paintings of the Muromachi period, the photographic prints of Makoto Takami convey landscapes redolent with an atmosphere of calm, beauty, and meditation. Like the record of a lonely traveler, Takami’s landscapes communicate the wonder of discovery and the inner audacity which leads some of us to find the path less traveled.
Most of these photographs are taken on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, where the artist lives. The stunning and dramatic variations in value in each print are due to Takami’s unique technique, which involves taking long-exposure photographs using an infrared filter. Instead of recording visible light, the infrared captures other wavelengths invisible to the human eye, including heat or thermal radiation. The infrared transforms what we see as the normal world into something mysterious and unexpected. The measured deliberation required to produce the photographs is not just a process, however, but is grounded in a philosophy. Takami devotes time to uncovering the spirit of a lake, tree or mountain. In turn, viewers are encouraged to take the time to pause and reflect on their own journeys.