Toshio Shibata – Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2008

Following the course text and reviewing photographer Toshio Shibata, I was surprised by his unique view of flowing water and in particular the textures that he creates within water in his images. Clearly his understanding of water in various different forms and his ability to give it different form is something I’ve not previously seen across such breadth. The shutter speeds to achieve the textures must be perfect, for example creating texture in water from waves generated by the wind would need a very specific shutter speed to achieve.

I assumed that water flow images would be in natural water flows, however his are almost all from man made flows (dams, weirs, pools). The connection with the man made structures is very apparent in the images, with composition being used to enhance the relationship, either through angles/viewpoints or eliminating unnecessary context.

There are many striking images in the online galleries I viewed, however the image used in this blog stood out for me. The silkiness of the water is incredible, making the man made structure look like it is creating a smooth and effortless connection between two very still pools. The red lines add to defining the structure and the bland brown colours around the central structure also help to accentuate it. The depth of the image is very apparent, detail from front to back, although I’ve discovered that this is a consequence of using a 8 x10 inch format, I assume pinhole camera, which has a very small aperture. Thus, flow from long exposures, wide range of in-focus content and softness to the image.

I really enjoyed his photos, they are unusual, create juxtapositions and are thought provoking.