Eiji Ina was born in Nagoya in 1957, and graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1984. Since 1981 Ina has been exhibiting and publishing his work, starting with large format cityscapes of Tokyo (In Tokyo), but since then Ina has explored such topics as the American military in Japan (Base and Zone), the omnipresence of security cameras (Watch), and environmental issues (Waste). In 1988, he won the Higashikawa New Photographer Prize, and in 1998 he was the recipient of the Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Award.
The above photo comes from Ina’s Emperor of Japan series, which was published in book form by Nazraeli Press in 2008. The book contains images Ina shot of the misasagi (burial mounds) of 124 of Japan’s emperors, dating back to the Kofun period some 1600 years ago. As is clear from the above photograph, Ina’s photographs of these often humble, understated tombs and mausoleums are as much about the setting as they are about the tombs themselves. The tombs provide a uniform thread, an orderly, sculpted center, while the surroundings reveal that no matter how much order and sublimity one tries to instill, chaos reigns supreme.
More examples from this series, as well as Ina’s other work, can be seen at Ina’s web site.