Black and White

Now I know how deep
are the colors of your goodwill
and of the blossoms
that one so desired
in the lingering snow.

— Socho

Michael Kenna describes Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, as “cold, expansive, solitary, white, graphic,” and his photographs embody these qualities in the distinct silhouettes, efficient compositions, and selection of tones. He creates a dialogue between positive and negative space, where barren trees give life to white surroundings and objects become landscapes within themselves. It is rare to see photographers trust their subjects by humbly devoting their vision solely to what they see, and Kenna always describes his process in palpable terms. His outlines capture the immediate experience of standing in this black and white world, as we, too, observe quietly.

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