April 6 – May 28, 2017
Reception Sunday, April 9, 2017, 4 - 6:00 PM
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth in 2017, Koichiro Kurita’s work from the project Beyond Spheres will be exhibited in the Main Gallery of the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA from April 6 through May 28, 2017. In response to Thoreau’s writings and overriding philosophy regarding timeless man’s relationship with nature, these photographs are an answer to the question “What if Thoreau had been a photographer?” A reception will take place at the Griffin Museum of Photography on Sunday, April 9, 2017 from 4 – 6 PM.
Koichiro Kurita launched the Beyond Spheres project in 2010. The aim of this project was, and is, to give pictorial form to Thoreau’s ideas and writings by employing the existing photographic methods in Thoreau’s time and invented by his contemporary, photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot. In homage to Thoreau and Talbot, Kurita has created handmade photographs with the same depth of thought and reflection on man’s coexistence with nature in this project. This approach provides a unique opportunity to experience Thoreau’s philosophy of man’s relationship to nature in visual form and to demonstrate the value of photography made by hand in today’s fast-paced world.
Kurita has chosen to work with Calotype, an early photographic process, invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841, in which a paper negative is produced and then used to make a positive contact print in sunlight. The Calotype emulsion requires processing just before exposure and development and must be done on location. This process, which preceded the glass plate and subsequent film technologies, is a slow process and its unique beauty is closely aligned to the nature of paper. Once the negatives are created they are placed against albumen or salted paper print, and contact printed with the sun.
Kurita began to create Calotype work from 2010 in NY and in Maine until 2013. In 2014-2015, Kurita photographed the world of Walden. It was here that Thoreau built his cabin and lived for two years, two months and two days; an experience that led him to write Walden, the masterpiece that has inspired readers for so many years. From October 2015 through 2016 the project explored remote and hidden sites along the Ipswich, Concord, Assabet, Sudbury and Merrimack Rivers, retracing portions of the 1839 journey chronicled in Thoreau’s book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Many of the shooting locations were accessible only by canoe.
Born in Japan, Koichiro Kurita attended Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe. He studied perceptual psychology and used a camera for his experimental research when he was a college student. The American writer, poet, philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau has been a great inspiration to Kurita since he read Walden in the mid of 1980’s. His encounter with this book set him on a new path. He gave up his career of commercial photography and has been working with nature landscapes for more than 25 years.
In the early 1990’s Kurita came to the United States on a grant from the Asian Cultural Council Foundation, created by John D. Rockefeller 3rd to encourage international dialogue between artists and scholars. Kurita has continued his exploration of what Thoreau described as “the harmonious relationship between nature and humanity”. Koichiro Kurita’s works have been exhibited internationally and collected by numerous museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard Art Museums, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, the Biblioteque Nationale de France, Paris, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, the Farnsworth Museum in Maine and many others.
Koichiro Kurita is represented by 555 Gallery in Boston.