Ryo Kusumoto Photography

貌 - bow -

(2013-2016 JPN)

This body of work is an attempt to visualize the concept of "awe" when facing ancient woods that has a lifespan of unmeasurable time in human terms and has witnessed the world throughout.
In Japan, animism toward trees existed even before the creation of “Kojiki”, one of the oldest and primary sources for Shinto (Japanese national religion) written in early 8th century. This, I believe, is an essential factor for Japanese to base roots and our identity.

To believe that we are born from great nature gave us reasons not to control it with civilization but keep humble distance and respect so that we can appreciate what nature offers us. To interpret natural disasters as admonitions or to have a proverb saying that turn your face from the sun when you commit a sin is one of the signs that we believe in higher beings that protect our communities. The sense of faith toward an unknown exists in Japanese peoples' minds.
Yet the spread of rationalism has been watering down the mindset. Incidents like blighting a local sacred tree for the use of construction and boycotting ritual ceremony for good harvest in order not to soil a house are reminders of it. Sacred trees are subjects to be consumed in the market of spiritual boom, a form of a pop-culture that only left graffiti and trash on and around trees.

It is only natural that practices of diet and faith evolve over time. This body of work does not intend to cry out for the preservation of nature. It is to provoke, or perhaps show a path, to solve numerous current problems in the world in a way that the very delicate and fragile distance we choose to keep between us and nature can also apply in order to determine the distance between us and us, humans.