Brief:- To prepare for this exercise, research the work of Toshio Shibata whose images of dams and waterway reinforcements in Japan contrast the fluidity of water with the solidity of rock and concrete. They also document the way human beings interact forcefully with the natural environment. Notice how rigorously composed Shibata’s photographs are. They are almost abstract in their use of geometric lines, angles, shapes and forms. Shibata, like many other photographers, works in series. This means they photograph different instances of the same essential subject many times, often using similar compositions and image tonality to help the photographs sit together as a series. Working in series is a strategy that helps the photographer hone his or her skills when directed towards one particular subject. Series can help to emphasise subtleties of form or content.

Research Toshio Shibata

Dams

Dams works well as a series. Same perspective looking down the dam, slightly different angles of images creates a different eye level for the viewer. Uses different shutter speeds – all slow so that the water is flowing rather than frozen. The way the water flows creates lines of movement, but the lines create the illusion of further stillness.

The foam of the water at the bottom of the dam, top of the picture, create an illusion of animals and clouds, and also add movement, but it looks more like oil gliding across the surface of water. Having the bottom of the dam at the top of the screen by shooting down the dam is amazing. It creates an abstract feel, mystical, so that my mind can think about the shapes as ethereal forms. The converging lines, the movement, the strong contrast pull my eye into the photos – I see runways at airfields, and bowling ball alleys.

Fig 1, 2, 3

 

Colours

Some of the photos work well as a series but others are so different that they don’t. So I have chosen three photos that appeal to me.

Fig 4, 5, 6

Colours #0916 (fig 4) the solid structure is hidden by the water going over the edge of the weir, but the shape makes it clear that it is a weir. The light on the water and the slow shutter speed mean that the movement is soft and gentle. What comes to mind for me is the right of the picture (the water going over the weir), is like a stream of thought just before sleep, moving to the left and into the beginnings of sleep.

Colours Kofu City 12 of 102 (fig 5), maths, physics. Wave diffraction, Huygens principle (Cowley, 1998), Quantum Diffraction/wave particle duality, Einstein, Bohr (Kumar, 2014: 263-275). Shibata demonstrates that photography can be artistic, surreal, scientific and also present reality.

Colours #1103 (Fig 6), reminds me of cubist surreal art – similar to Paul Klee’s Dream City #29421216 (Klee, 2017) but with softer colour and a smoother tone gradient than can be found in Klee’s work.

Paul Klee

Fig 7

There is so much more that I could write about Shibata’s photography. I have really enjoyed taking the time to do this piece of research. Shibata is somebody that I will refer back to as I develop my photography. How he brings the real,  surreal and imagined into his work, by using composition, structure, form and light to create, lines, strokes, shape, movement is very pleasing to me.

 

 

References

Fig 1; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1875 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 2; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1878 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 3; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1885 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 4; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours #0916; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 5; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours Kofu City 12 of 102; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 6; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours #1103; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 7; Klee, P; 2017; Dream City Trip #29421216; Viatura.us The Online Art Gallery; At http://viatura.us/paul-klee-dream-city/paul-klee-dream-city-citytrip-barcelona-met-vlucht-city-2-horaires-hall-leuven-belgium-29421216/ (accessed on 17/07/2017

Cowley, L; 1998; The Huygens Principle; At http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/huygens.htm (accessed on 17/07/17)

Klee, P; 2017; Dream City Trip #29421216; Viatura.us The Online Art Gallery; At http://viatura.us/paul-klee-dream-city/paul-klee-dream-city-citytrip-barcelona-met-vlucht-city-2-horaires-hall-leuven-belgium-29421216/ (accessed on 17/07/2017

Kumar, Manjit; (2014); Quantun, Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; London; Icon Books; p263-275

http://azito-art.com/topics/toshio-shibata-concrete-abstraction/

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150825103246.htm

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2 thoughts on “Exercise 1.11a Capturing Stillness in Movement – Toshio Shibata

  1. Good morning! Your regular posts are very helpful to a novice like me. I learn so much from you, and fellow OCA travellers too. Thank you, and all the best with all your projects. Sarah

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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