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
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
Limited edition, numbered and signed. AD of the set by Mynameis.