LOS ANGELES — Spring is upon us, and cherry blossoms are blooming around the world. It’s hard to take a bad picture of a cherry blossom, known as sakura in Japan, so how do you take a better one?
A recent post at The Fox Is Black turned me on to the work of Takeshi Suga, a UK-based photographer who recently completed a dreamlike series on the famous sakura of his native Japan. As Suga writes in his artist statement, “Components of my photography are nostalgia, sentimentality, euphoria and loneliness. I seek comfort and tranquility in my subjects.”
I emailed Suga and asked him a bit more about his process. He replied:
Two years ago, I discovered the technique through an accidental double exposure shot I took with a Lomography camera. Since then, it has become an integral part of my photography. By overlaying two images, one descriptive (in focus) and one suggestive (out of focus), I aim to present simultaneously the descriptive clarity of photography with the haze of memory, creating a rich and imaginative glimpse of the world around us.
The series, appropriately titled Sakuramadelica 2012, takes the classic sakura trope and turns it into a more expressive series, reflecting, in many ways, the high of seeing fields full of pink blossoms. The blossoms have been depicted by Japanese artists since the days of Hiroshige and, even further back, Lady Murasaki, so Suga has a long tradition of Old Aesthetic to live up to. I’m no expert on sakura art, but these new shots are wonderfully psychedelic.