1st Place 2017 Book

浄景 JOKEI-Symbols of Nature Worship, Sacred Places in Japan

  • Prize
    Gold in Book/Fine Art, 1st Place winner in Book
  • Photographer
    Eriko Kaniwa

I spent almost two years exploring the symbols of Japanese nature worship, which are exemplified in the “eight million gods” of Shinto, and reflecting on how ancient Japanese viewed natural scenery and symbolized it as an object of prayer. Traveling to over twenty locations throughout Japan, mainly with using long-exposure photography to capture images of torii gates built in water, sacred “wedded rocks,” World Heritage sites, and other spiritual landscapes. In Buddhism, Jodo, or “Pure Lands”, refer to the sacred realms inhabited by a buddha. The title of this photo book, Jokei, (meaning “Pure Scenes”) refers to this concept. Through this, I hope to continue an experiment in visual analogy to capture how, in an era without modern technology or precise computing, our ancestors perceived the vast natural world and how they intuited, understood, and gave expression to nature’s formative energies to communicate with it, as well as uncover what kind of world it is that we are living in now with every serious environmental crisis, at this moment.