Koichi Nishiyama Gallery

There was a forest near the house where I lived when I was a child. When the forest existed, I felt the connection with a deep part in the world there. However, the forest has since been destroyed, and only the process of the loss and its memory were kept in my mind.

I am living in a place which is a little distant from there at the present day. When I look at the scenery in periphery of the city where I live, I can see a new contemporary scenery which overlaps with the past scenery. I keep walking and roaming around the place until it leads me to my destination. And the subdued light is shining on the space which illuminates my memory in the past.

At that time, I realize that I can regain the connection with the world.

K Nishiyama, 2010

While evidence of the man-made landscape, which very often would be more aptly titled the man-altered landscape, is visible all over the world, I have always believed that for some reason it seems more obvious and noticeable in Japan. Is it the widely acknowledged density of the place, or simply the breathtaking pace at which it takes place? Or the for Western eyes and minds incomprehensible reasoning of the decision-making process to replace areas of nature in cities that already seem short of them with more housing, roads or shopping complexes?

Observers of photographic culture in Japan are also only too familiar with the dominating style of nature and landscape photography. Images of immaculate and perfect flowers, waterways, mountains, images of nature that almost violently belie the presence of nearby powerlines and places of industry.

Koichi Nishiyama’s photographs provide a quiet view onto an environment at a crossroads in time. His introductory statement aside, we do not know what has disappeared from the scenes in front of us, neither do we know what will be there in the future. In some sense, the subject matter of these images touches on the pure essence of photography — a moment without a past and without a future. What we do know is that a decision has been made and hands were laid onto this grounds.

In my view the most powerful articulation of observing this changing landscape is not the explicit and accusing imagery that seems to shout loudly “stop doing this”, rather than pictures that calmly, yet very emotionally, seem to affirm: “this is the world, that we chose to create for ourselves”.

What we hope for from the artist is help in discovering the significance of a place. In this sense we would choose in most respects for thirty minutes with Edward Hopper’s painting Sunday Morning to thirty minutes on the street that was his subject; with Hopper’s vision we see more.Robert Adams – p.16, Beauty in Photography.