Friday, 11 January 2013

Kenro Izu: Where Prayer Echoes

Photo © Kenro Izu-Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery
"In the last 10 years, I am more interested in the humans who go into these structures. That is where the spirit is. Without the people who pray or offer flowers, it’s just a structure.” Kenro Izu
I recall briefly meeting Kenro Izu a few years ago at the exhibition of his work at the Ruben Museum in NYC, and he and his photographs of sacred places left a distinct impression on me. After all, I was on my own photographic "journey" covering religious rituals and ceremonies because it's where people are at their most authentic, where there are no artifices and no make-believe. So I'm not surprised that he gravitated with his fabulous artistry to include people in his platinum prints.

So a selection of these platinum prints from Kenro Izu's trips to India opened at the Howard Greenberg Gallery (The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, New York), and include include landscapes and portraits of people who follow various religions, from Hinduism and Islam to Sikhism and Jainism.

Kenro Izu is a Japanese-born photographer based in the United States. He spent two years working as a photo assistant in New York City, and subsequently established his own studio, specializing in still life photography. Since 1979, he began travelling the world to capture the sacred ancient stone monuments in their natural settings. He traveled and documented Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile). Most recently, he focused on Buddhism and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. 

With a custom-made, 300-pound camera, Izu creates negatives that are 14 inches high by 20 inches wide. The resulting platinum palladium prints are widely recognized as being among the most beautiful prints in the history of the medium. 

An extremely interesting article/interview with Izu is on The New York Times' LENS blog, in which he relates the reasons for his current interest in people portraiture/photography.