Irie Taikichi is the great photographer I was firstly inspired by.
At that time I was young age, and it was just after I got hold of the third camera, Nikon F.
After that, I began photographing in earnest.
“Yamatoji 大和路- Road to Yamato -” was my first subject. And also it was Irie’s great subject.
Yamatoji is one landscape of the oldest Capital City in Japan.
Yamato 大和 is the old name of Nara 奈良, and it means the Great Peace, or Harmony.
Yamato period is about from AD.300 to AD.600.
Asuka 飛鳥 period is about from AD.600 to AD.709.
Nara 奈良 period is from AD.710 to AD.719. Also, the name is the present name.
“Wa 和” originates from 17Article’s Constitution-an ancient Japanese Constitution in 609.
“Article 1 Peace(Harmony) is most deserving of Respect.” “一に曰く、和を以て尊しと為す”
After over 40 years from beginning photograph, again I researched about my favorite photographer- Irie Taikich- on the occasion I began studying photography from the fundamentals about 5 years ago.
He is a Japanese photographer. He concentrated on Yamatoji (historical sites of Nara Prefecture) and Buddhist statues.
Irie was born in Nara in 1905. He started photography in his teens, influenced by a brother. He began work in a camera store in Osaka in 1925 and set up his own company in Osaka, Kogeisha (光芸社), which did product and advertising photography as well as selling photographic goods.
He started taking photographs of bunraku (文楽) in 1939 and in 1942 had his first solo exhibition (in Osaka), of bunraku puppets. His house in Osaka was destroyed in a bombing of 1945, and he escaped to his family home in Nara.
Irie’s photographs of Buddhist imagery were published as the early 1940s, and in 1958 he embarked on what would be a stream of books of such photographs, which had commercial success.
In the year, after he died in 1992, a museum largely devoted to his works was set up in Nara: Nara City Museum of Photography (奈良市写真美術館 Nara-shi Shashin Bijutsukan).
Topic and Subject
His main topic is Japanese Religion or Japanese mind.
He concentrated on Yamatogi (大和路) and Buddhist statues(Butsuzo 仏像), Bunraku puppets(文楽人形).
Feeling or Concept
It is photographing an archetypal image of Japan, and Japanese mind. He had sought to take the images as lyrical and divine scenery, statue or figure. His landscape photography is usually portrayed with gentle sentiments, effectively including rain, snow, fog or cloud. So he was named as Mr. Wet Irie by a best friend, Kenkichi Sugimoto.
What had he pursued in the topic and subject?
What does Japanese religion or Japanese mind originates in?
His images are showing a divine beauty.
In my opinion, It is an archetypal image of Japan, and Japanese mind. It seemed as if it had had a real soul, and Kami (神) dwelt within the landscape, Buddhist statues(Butsuzo 仏像), Bunraku puppets(文楽) .
That is to say, the Scenery or Figure symbolizes Japanese religion or Japanese mind. Because Japanese tend to treat considerately as everything is living, even a scenery, Butuzo, or doll. It originates in the state of Japanese religion or mind.
In conclusion, Japanese has had respect for nature or all being since ancient time. It is why Japanese believe that Kami dwell within all being. In short, it means 和 wa, and 和 means harmony with nature or all things.
Japanese usually say, “Motutainai! もったいない” “Arigatai! ありがたい” “Itadakimasu! いただきます” “Kamigakari 神がかり” “Kamikakusi 神隠し”.
I’m sure that the words are expressions of Japanese religion or mind.
So, I intend to take a divine beauty like that.
At my twenties I visited Yamatoji many times for photographing with my photography friend.
Thinking back, it might mean to seek Japanese mind and Japanese root, and also myself.
Finally, if I may add a few words; now I’m thinking I will make a pilgrimage through Yamatoji with Camera after I return back to Japan.