For over thirty years, Michael Kenna has photographed temples, shrines, gardens, seascapes and landscapes, in black and white, throughout Japan. Ten years ago, he also began to photograph female nudes in various locations in Japan. A selection of these photographs was unveiled to the public for the first time at Paris Photo in November 2018.
The Japanese women who modeled were actresses, dancers, office workers, photographers and yoga practitioners. “Their willingness to express themselves in front of the camera and their trust in my integrity as a photographer, enabled us to engage in creative visual explorations and conversations”, says Kenna. “The human body is an absolutely amazing, mysterious miracle in a myriad of ways”, adds the British photographer. “I view both historical and contemporary creative representations of the nude as open invitations to explore this esthetic challenge. My efforts may add little or nothing to the enormous existing mountain of artistic treasures, but that is not important. This is another chapter in an ongoing story”.
Rafu was published to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition of Michael Kenna’s photographic work at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photographic Art.