Yoichiro Nishimura collection of photographs
Blue Flower brings together 84 photographs of 19 varieties of flowers that I have encountered over the past 7 to 8 years. They were mostly found on the streets or picked from the roadside, but there are some that came from my neighbor’s garden or my wife’s ikebana.
The idea of a blue flower may seem strange for some people, never having seen or heard of a blue dandelion or blue cherry blossom before. Without question, these flowers were originally red and yellow.
How then did they turn into blue flowers? This is because these are color negative photographs, in which the colors are reversed into their respective complementary colors. This results in transforming the coloration of warm colors, such as red and yellow, into bluish cool colors. At the same time, tonal transition takes place, reversing the light into dark shadow, and shadow into bright light― it is from within the darkness, a blue flower emerge. The seemingly common flowers are sprinkled with the magic of photography, and what appears in front of our eyes is a completely new presence of the flowers. I have become spellbound by this enigmatic beauty concealing both mystic purity and indefinable mysteriousness. I would be grateful if this magical world of flowers―expanding right behind the real world―could be shared with you all.
There is a dream-like atmosphere surrounding the world of images created by Yoichiro Nishimura―a dream subtly cool, erotic and mysterious.
In the middle of the night, as I turn off the light and close my eyes, there appear spectacles of various lights glowing like phosphorescence in the back of the eyelids, slowly flowing across the retina. Whenever my senses experience this indefinable transition of light, I find myself immersed in Nishimura’s visions. A journey into a sensual, alluring world of the microcosms―Blue Flower is a sublimation of Nishimura’s creative sensitivity.
Flowers of the Shadow
Kotaro Iizawa (Photography critic)
Photogram is one of the oldest techniques in the area of photography. In fact, this could be said to have existed before the invention of photography; there are historical records, predating the creation of photography, which describes the process of capturing a photographic image, by placing the object on top of a paper coated with silver chloride and silver nitrate, and exposing it to light.
Being fascinated by the medium of photogram, Yoichiro Nishimura has continued to apply this technique into many of his artworks over the past years. His practice is not about mere representation of a conscious revival of traditional techniques, nor a return to the source. For Nishimura, photogram is rather a promising ground that allows him to explore and expand his new creative expressions; furthermore, the medium could indicate the possibility of new photographic expressions, still yet to come.
Nishimura has undertaken a new and original photographic technique, which he calls scangram. Scangram can be described as a digital version of photogram. It is a technique to create a negative digital image of an object, such as flowers and leaves, by placing them on top of a scanner. The biggest feature is in how the color is reversed from the original color into the complimentary color, as much as how the form and outline of an object is captured; thus a red Hibiscus or Azalea would result in a blue-ish outcome. The visual effect is extraordinary; the flowers exude a mystic atmosphere, as if they were bathed in moonlight. Through transforming themselves from the world of the positive to the negative, “flowers of the shadow” come to light.
When looking back in the history of photography as media expressions, we come across practitioners – similar to magicians or alchemists – who indulged their passions in creating mystical images, rather than representing or documenting the reality as it is. For them, photogram remained an important tool for their creative expressions. Man Ray, known as “alchemist of images”, is one of the many practitioners of photogram representing the 20th century; and clearly, Yoichiro Nishimura is a photographer following the same artistic lineage.
His exploration of photogram will show no end. In the case of scangram, I see no reason why the motif should be limited to plants; potentially, the range of subject matter could be expanded to various objects and living things – including human. Having said that, I feel it was genuinely positive that he started the series with botanical motifs; as the “flowers of the shadow”, emanating subtly in the darkness, illuminate the artist himself – reticent, yet remarkably passionate deep inside.
Blue Flower Yoichiro Nishimura
500 copies limited June 1, 2016
Author Yoichiro Nishimura
Edit / Design Yoichi Tamori
Poetry Akiko Niimi
Translation Nobuko Kawata
Comment Daido Moriyama / Kotaro Iizawa
Publisher Katsutoshi Sugita / Kamakura Gendai Co., Ltd.
4-14-3 Higashiueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0015 Japan
Printing Yamada Photo Process Co., Ltd.
Printing Director Katsumi Kumakura
Bookbinding Shibuya Bunsenkaku Co., Ltd.
"Blue Flower" is on sale at Hermès Paris Sèvres
17, rue de Sèvres 75006 Paris
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