The photographs of Ehime were taken in 1999, during Gerry Johansson’s third visit to Japan. After focusing on Tokyo during his visits in the 1970s and 1980s – with the deep impression that the transformation and modernity of Tokyo had left on him – Johansson grew curious to discover what Japan was like away from the cities, and an invitation for a residency program offered him the opportunity to explore Ehime, on the island of Shikoku.
In meticulous (but apparently effortless) grayscale photographs taken in Imabari, Uwajima, Tsushima, and other parts of Ehime, Johansson focuses on the natural features, meanings, and symbols of the Japanese rural landscape, exploring the traditions and deeper aspects of the local culture of Ehime.
“During my 4-week long stay in Ehime, I had experienced some completely different and much more traditional aspects of Japan. It was especially interesting to see how the symbols of traditional culture and respect for nature live on in modern society. Of course, the question whether I, a European, understand or misunderstand the symbols remains relevant. Quite simply, do I really know what I am photographing? I am convinced that the images will be interpreted very differently depending on your cultural background. And I like that. That’s the way I want it to be”. (Gerry Johansson)
Gerry Johansson started his career as a freelance photographer since the mid-1980s and has been making quiet pictures around the world.
For Ehime, Johansson traveled to Ehime prefecture where is located southwest of Japan with a stunningly beautiful area to explore with nature. Johansson had visited Tokyo in the seventies and eighties, but 1999 was the first time for him to visit the countryside region of Japan as he was invited for the residency program. Compared to the big city Tokyo, Ehime has a different aspect of Japan. He enjoyed seeing how the symbols of tradition, culture, and respect for nature lives in modern society. He has shown some of Ehime photographs before in some books, but this is the complete edition of his Ehime series. Limited signed postcard included for the first 100 copies.
About the Author
Gerry Johansson (b. 1945) is a Swedish photographer who developed an interest in photography during his teen years and moved to New York in the early 1960s.
He later studied graphic design at Konstindustriskolan (today the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg), working in graphic design for fifteen years. Since the mid-1980s he has worked as a freelance photographer. His first solo exhibition was at the Fotografiska Museet at the Moderna Museet, 1982. He has published lots of books especially since 2000.