Yoshihiko Ueda – Photographer, Japan


LS: Can you tell about the remarkable series ‘Quinault’, images made in the 1990s in a rare and ancient coniferous rain forest in Washington State, USA? The images are really potent, with the seductive other worldliness and glowing dampness of the wet terrain. Deep, dark greens and blues reflect the intensity of time in the forest and the spiritual connection with your soul.

YU: That was a communion with trees. It began with an unexpected encounter with a single tree, as a result of which a door to the entire forest seemed to open.




LS: Your works are characteristic by an aesthetic purity. Can you tell about it?

YU: I think it’s something very instinctive that is fundamental to me. I always have a sense of myself ultimately heading in that direction.



LS: Your series show the experience of the mystery of the nature and the sublime of the anew. Tell me about your vision of the sublime!

YU: I think of it as a realm that renders humans pure and noble, where they can experience freedom and a broadening of the mind, that make them feel happy, which are things I can only hope my work achieves.




LS: Your work is also an ecological reflection, a relationship between men and the landscape, a rediscovery of the nature. How to be Japanese feel a different approach of language to nature?

YU: I have no interest in so-called landscape photography that seems to have been taken based on a preconceived notion of the word ‘landscape’. There must be a rediscovery born out of a personal relationship between that person and nature.



LS: Your other main works are also the portrait of the architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright “FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT”. Can you tell about it and your relationship with the architecture?

YU: I love architecture. I think it represents the dreams of people given concrete form. So I love to look at architecture.



LS: There is obviously not one truth. There are many versions of the same reality. This ambiguity is ever perhaps, one of the greatest qualities of photography. What do you think?

YU: As I mentioned earlier, I agree. I think it is as a result of the different ways we as individuals look at reality that rediscoveries of these realities take place.



LS: Does photography save souls?

YU: Yes, I believe this is so.

LS: Can you tell me about your new  ’Materia’ series and the exhibition? What was your intention behind your series,  MATERIA?

YU: With ‘Materia’, the intention was to think hard about life. About the radiance and glitter of life. In the process, I came to regard light as having a major influence. So it was also a rediscovery of light.
LS: What were your earliest photographs and influences?

LS: I was strongly captivated by the photographs of Alfred Stieglitz and by the photographs of Edward Weston, and I still am.


© Yoshihiko Ueda, 2012, Courtesy of Gallery 916


gallery 916

Interview curated by Camilla Boemio