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Issue #7878: Nature

In BJP’s December issue we suggest an alternative take on nature photography, via images that celebrate the spiritual pull of forests, warn of an apocalyptic future, and suggest new approaches to the natural world

In our latest issue, Nature, we speak with Lena C Emery about her latest work, Yuka & The Forest, which draws on Japan’s powerful cultural connection to forests. Todd Hido’s latest series, Bright Black World, presents a more chilling vision, showing icy landscapes that suggest a impending environmental disaster. Yoshinori Mizutani takes on the genre of nature photography, meanwhile, proposing a fresher approach to images of wildlife with his series HDR_nature. We also offer an insight into the latest technology trends to emerge from the Photokina trade show. 

Our cover feature this month is the work of Yoshinori Mizutani, a Japanese photographer who shot to fame back in 2014 with his project Tokyo Parrots. Presenting a vivid, impressionistic vision of the birds, Mizutani’s images were a refreshing break with the usually staid approach to wildlife photography, which sometimes seems to emphasis sharpness and colour at the expense of visual appeal. His new series, HDR_nature goes further still, maxing out the camera settings and using explicit manipulation in an attempt to “develop a new form of nature photography”. 

Lena C Emery also draws on Japanese nature in her new series Yuka & The Forest. The project is informed by Japan’s deep connection to woods, which is partly informed by its Shinto religion but also by its history – 300 years ago, and facing environmental disaster, Japan set about addressing deforestation. The country is now two-thirds covered in forest, twice the global average. In Emery’s hands, a young woman is set free by the beauty of the trees that surround her, in a series of semi-fictional images.

Todd Hido’s work Bright Black World is informed by Nordic mythology, and by overwhelming images of the sublime evoked in paintings of nature by Romantic artists such as Caspar David Frederich. His shots of icy landscapes have taken on a new sense of foreboding in the 21st century, however, suggesting the impending doom of environmental collapse.

Reporting from Cologne for our Intelligence section, Damien Demolder gets the low down from Photokina – one of the world’s biggest trade shows and an essential place to find out about technical innovations in photography. This year the big news is about Nikon and Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, a move that “signals the beginning of the end for their DSLR ranges”. Meanwhile, fresh from a three-day event at C/O Berlin, Nina Strand reports on what might be the beginning of the end for the independent photobook publishing scene.

In Agenda we speak with NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf about the ongoing impact of Bauhaus, 100 years after its inception; we also get renowned colourist Harry Gruyaert’s Any Answers. “When I started there were hardly any photography books,” he says. “Today there are too many influences. It is much harder to be a photographer today for this reason.” Our projects are Michalis Poulas, Joel Hunn, Sara Palmieri, and Daniël Siegersma.

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