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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo


Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects Concrete Abstraction by Toshio Shibata as Book of the Week.

Concrete Abstraction. Photographs by Toshio Shibata.
Akio Nagasawa, 2015.
 
http://www.photoeye.com/BookteaseLight/bookteaselight.cfm?catalog=zg359
Christian Michael Filardo selects Concrete Abstraction. Photographs by Toshio Shibata. Akio Nagasawa, 2015.

Humans like to clear a path even when there isn’t one to begin with. We re-­direct the water; tell it where it ought to go. Cut down the trees and put something else in their place. We take the organic and make it alien. Somewhere, Toshio Shibata sits with his large-format camera and waits to make a photograph. Perhaps the augmented nature tells him something, when to use his intuition, where to wait for an image to reveal itself.

Folklore always describes the master in the woods with their ancient teachings, one who meditates or knows something we don’t know. Ready to show us the way of the world that we have long forgotten. This is the way the water flows, this is why the birds sing, and this is where the cedar grows.

When I see Shibata’s images I hear the sounds of nature and the man-made elements that obscure them. The hum of water spilling over a large concrete wall, the footsteps of a single man atop decaying leaves, the whisper of the wind through dried grass. It’s easy to assume that Shibata is looking, using his vision to decipher something new and strange. However, I feel like in the photographs contained within Concrete Abstraction he listens. It almost feels as though he does very little looking. I imagine him composing his photograph, and waiting for his moment with eyes closed. Feeling the air, the sunlight, hearing a leaf fall from a high treetop.

I wouldn’t call myself a fan of landscape photography. In fact in general I would say I don’t care for it. However, Shibata’s images show me something that I have never experienced before. A different kind of silence, they make me aware of my humanity, they make me feel small, but empowered. As though I’m finally listening to nature and hearing it for the first time.

Concrete Abstraction. Photographs by Toshio Shibata. Akio Nagasawa, 2015.

Concrete Abstraction. Photographs by Toshio Shibata. Akio Nagasawa, 2015.


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Christian Michael Filardo is a Filipino-American composer and photographer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He recently had a solo exhibition called Tumbleweed Replica at Current Space in Baltimore, MD and is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore.




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