Photographer and professor
in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts
Risaku Suzuki was born in Shingu City in Wakayama Prefecture in 1963. His first collection of photographs, Kumano, which he published in 1998, sets out the sequence of events leading up to the Shingu’s Oto Matsuri Festival. His second collection of photographs, Piles of Time which he published the following year in 1999, won the 25th Ihei Kimura Photography Award. In addition to the landscapes of Kumano, he’s announced series addressing themes such as water surfaces, reflective surfaces, cherry blossoms, and snow. His collections of photographs include Water Mirror (Case Publishing); Sakura, White, and Ishiki no Nagare (edition nord); Etude (Super Labo); Umi to Yama to Aida (amanasalto); Atelier of C?zanne (Nazraeli Press); and Kumano Yuki Sakura (Tankosha). His works can be found in the collections of museums such as the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama; the Tanabe City Museum of Art; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
In the West, polytheistic worship of nature is seen as a primitive stage in the development of religion, the first step on the path leading to monotheism. However, when one considers the many religious wars fought in the name of such monotheistic religions, doubts arise concerning this view of animistic feeling as immature.
Kumano has a magnanimity that brings together Shinto and Buddhism, and natural objects such as enormous rocks and waterfalls continue to be respected and worshiped to this day. Instead of giving precedence to form, this local faith is founded on humankind’s intrinsic sense, giving it a depth that belies its simplicity. I think the first step in recalling our intrinsic sense is to visit Kumano. You’ll gain an experience that transcends what can be understood through words.