Yasuhiro Ogawa: Into the Silence

Yasuhiro Ogawa‘s latest photobook, “Into the Silence,” encapsulates the untamed yet enduring allure of Japan’s northern region, tracing the footsteps of the 17th-century poet Matsuo Bashō. Bashō’s odyssey, chronicled in his travelogue “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” (“Oku no Hosomichi”), unfolded during the summer of 1689 as he embarked on a journey with his companion Sora. Unlike Bashō, who traversed the terrain on foot armed with a pen, Ogawa opted for train travel, equipped with a camera to document his expedition through the Tōhoku region.
Ogawa’s photographs skillfully capture the rugged magnificence of the landscape, ranging from snow-draped mountains and mist-laden forests to deserted roads and glimpses of wild oceans, often taken through foggy train windows. Through his lens, Ogawa unveils a world suspended in both stillness and motion, portraying a remote and timeless environment.
Despite the centuries that separate them, Ogawa’s images echo the challenges encountered by Bashō on his odyssey. The solitude and desolation of the journey are palpable in shots featuring empty trains, solitary tracks, and forlorn hotel interiors. Ogawa’s muted photographs vividly portray the physical hurdles of navigating rough terrain and enduring inclement weather. A stark contrast emerges between the scenic tranquility and the harsh realities faced by the inhabitants of this remote region. From unadorned coastal towns to vacant streets, Ogawa’s images lay bare the impact of economic decline and depopulation on the area. Yet, amidst the somber scenes, a spirit of hope and resilience endures.

About the Author

Born in Kanagawa, Japan, in 1968, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Kanagawa University. His journey into photography commenced in his early twenties, evolving into a professional career by 2000.
His extensive exhibition history includes notable solo and group shows, such as “Futashika na Chizu” at Kodak Photo Salon, Tokyo (1999), “Slowly Down the River” at Nikon Salon Ginza, Tokyo (2006), and “The Photographic Society of Japan New Comer Award Memorial Exhibition” in Tokyo and Moscow (2009). Other exhibitions include “Winter Journey” at Doozo Gallery, Rome, Italy (2013), “Cascade” at Sokyusha Gallery, Tokyo (2017), “By the Sea” at Fuji Film Photo Salon, Tokyo (2018), “Contes des iles et Paysages de la Mer du Japon” at Inbetween Gallery, Paris, France (2018), and “The Dreaming” at Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong (2020).
He has authored six photo books to date, including “Slowly Down the River” (Creo, 2008), “Shimagatari” (Sokyusha, 2014), “Cascade” (Sokyusha, 2017), “By the Sea” (self-published, 2018), “The Dreaming” (Sokyusha, 2020), and “Tokyo Silence” (T&M Projects, 2022). His accolades encompass the Taiyo Award for his inaugural solo exhibition “Futashikana Chizu” (2000) and The Photographic Society of Japan New Comer Award for his first photo book, “Slowly Down the River” (2009). Notable recognitions also include being a finalist at the Oskar Barnack Award (2006) and the Hayashi Tadahiko Award (2015).
He is currently represented by Blue Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong.

A portrait of Yasuhiro Ogawa

Softcover: 100 pages
Publisher: Blue Lotus Edition / Photo Editions (2023)
Language: English, Japanese
Size: 9.64 x 9.64 inches
Weight: 1.43 pounds
ISBN-13: 978-9887619253

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