Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Journeys by Ekaterina Bykhovskaya


This beautiful book is the journal of a photographer's travels to four distinguished places of the world—Jerusalem, Japan, Istanbul, and Provence. Through Ekaterina Bykhovskaya's vision, dreamlike imagery, and the magical connection of light and process, readers are drawn into the silent kingdoms she portrays. Bykhovskaya's images show us how to think differently about time and place while we also discover truths about ourselves.

I spent a few hours in the quiet and peace of the temple grounds, feeling reluctant to leave. Having found myself in the contemplative mood I was hoping to reach, I put my infrared camera to work. Being blissfully unconcerned with not getting fellow tourists into the frame (this having been my main photographic concern for the past several days), I could fully concentrate just on the feel of the place. I wanted the photographs to be very light and somewhat dreamy and found that infrared worked well for conveying this mood.

Keen on continuing my infrared efforts, I took the camera with me the next day for a stroll in the Imperial Gardens. The vast grounds of the gardens were just as unpopulated as those of the temple, and I felt absolute tranquility wandering its alleys. The pine trees and creeks seemed to me to come alive from the sumi-e paintings, and I tried to capture the poetic ambiance in my photographs.

I returned home with hundreds of both color and infrared images, and for all my striving for the autumn hues, I found that ironically the monochrome images turned out to be more subtle and lyrical. Overall they conveyed much better the mood I was seeking to impart. Besides, I realized that my obsession with the autumn leaves was successfully healed and felt a great and unrestricted willingness to return to Japan in any season.

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