Hokkaido – Japan’s north island has always offered photographers a timeless canvas on which to show creative courage. Some collectable contemporary photographers – such as Michael Kenna – have arguably produced their most coveted work in this region – playing with light, line and form in a deliberately reductive approach. His images have always boasted simplicity rather than shying away from it and his season of choice in Japan was invariable winter.
Snow is a photographer’s friend as it simplifies and this seems particularly apt in Japan – where the zen of calm is cherished. In rural areas, there is a conspicuous and multi layered removal of noise. Hokkaido is the antidote to the urban madness of Tokyo and this will never change. If National Geographic produced a series on regions of the world where the landscape of a region fed its culture, my hunch would be that they would have a section on the serenity of this island at the edge of the world.
I was delighted to take this image of red crested cranes early today. The simplicity just works. What a regal bird.