The photographs from the Forest series are the results from your exploration of a specific forest. Where is this forest located and what did attract you there ?
This forest is a famous forest in Japan; it is protected by UNESCO. It has survived because of its remote location and it holds one of the most ancient living plants on earth – a tree that is said to be 7,000 years old. I was drawn into this forest because of a brief experience in the Amazon years ago. The forest is such a contrast to life in New York City in sound, but there is this serene sort of chaos in a forest that is similar to a city, even more so. Every living thing is individual, but a part of a larger, connected cycle.In parallel to the forest series you have photographed urban gardens which are imbued with a living breath, the leaves of the shrubs seem to rustle and vegetation is climbing everywhere in a chaotic way that one does not expect at the foot of buildings. What is the story behind them?
I photographed abandoned lots in Brooklyn for many years. They were part of my own environment, as I lived in one of these neighbourhoods. The weeds grew tall enough to camouflage some of the
garbage and street cats. Then one day, it seemed as though these empty lots morphed into “luxury condominiums”. Parts of Manhattan experienced this same transformation, particularly neighborhoods historically considered low-income, like Harlem and the Lower East Side. Neighborhoods that consequentially drew creative people of all sorts who had a hand in creating community gardens. The artists were the people who were able to envision that abandoned lots could become gardens. Most of the abandoned lots became buildings, but others survived and were transformed into green oases as gardens. Development has always been at odds with the nature. Development seeks to destroy trees, grass and weeds, but these photographs are evidence that sometimes nature can prevail.By these two series, as well as in the photograph Garden, Takamatsu, you deal with two sides of the natural state, one in an urban environment and the other in the wild, and yet these two series seem to speak with a single voice, that of a free and powerful nature. How did you tackle these two environments?
The experiences between the two series are similar. The forest is an ancient community of nature and being there makes me see things as if I were seeing a piece of art or a wild animal. Both are very precious to me; it is as if I was visiting that personal fairy tale of what real nature offers and we as humans can do.
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