Sacred Places.  Photographs by Kenro Izu. Text by Clark Worswick.

Sacred Places.

Photographs by Kenro Izu. Text by Clark Worswick.
Arena Editions, Santa Fe, USA, 2001. 180 pp., 107 tritone illustrations, 12x10".

Publisher's Description

Out of Print

Izu's striking photographs have long been valued for their subtlety, grace, and power. Produced over the past 20 years, Izu's landscape work is informed by a keen understanding of the aesthetics and vision of the great 19th-century travel photographers. He has travelled around the world, photographing lands and sites sacred to their people.

During the 1980s, Kenro Izu began making photographs of difficult -to-reach places. Invariably, for want of a better description, these were places that were possessed of "spirituality." Izu made "documents" of places of worship as diverse as Easter Island, Teotihuacan, Angkor Wat, Stonehenge, the monuments of the Chinese Silk Road, Palmyra, Mustang, Hampi, the caves of Ajanta, Borobudur, Pagan, and Lhasa. The work was painstakingly slow. Since creating those first images in the 1980s, Izu has continued his travels, making numerous journeys to these out-of-the-way places. Sacred Places, which follows the success of Still Life, Izu's first book with Arena Editions, represents the first major compilation of these magnificent travel images-images that truly defy simple description.

Izu has single-handedly raised photography to a point that was lost somewhere in the nineteenth century. This work springs from the artist's careful scrutiny of the genre of the great nineteenth-century "exotic" photographs of Asia-the work that flourished from the banks of the Nile and Cairo to the quayside of Yokohama between 1859 and 1879. Like his nineteenth-century predecessors, Izu utilizes large-format cameras, typically a massive 14-by-20-inch view camera. But Izu is a twenty-first-century photographer, who borrows, reshapes, and recasts the imperatives of the nineteenth century and modernism for his own unique imagery. His vision is an immensely subtle and multi-layered creation of a Japanese American photographer living and working in New York. It is a vision that has literally been hacked and honed until the photographs are totally minimalist documents, to which nothing can be added and from which absolutely nothing can be subtracted. It is a vision totally outside of the ordinary photographic parameters of our time.


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