Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hiroshi Watanabe


"Pipe-cleaner Flower Arrangement in Gallon Jug, Tule Lake, California 1" by Hiroshi Watanabe

Gentle readers, after an absence of lo these many months, I feel it necessary to delve once again into the subject of fine art photography. As usual, I have no right to pontificate on this subject, save for the fact that I have spent some minutes Googling the California-based photographer Hiroshi Watanabe. Do not be deceived. The urge to inform you about this talented photographer does not derive solely from the fact that I know how to spell Hiroshi, a skill I acquired when I became fascinated by the work of another genius of the photographic medium, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

I believe I first heard about Mr. Watanabe from a podcast by Martin Bailey. After Mr. Watanabe's name rattled around the dank recesses of what remains of my mind for several months, the time for further research had arrived.

When the name of Hiroshi Watanabe bubbled up from my subconscious, I went to his very impressive web site. Among the many galleries of his brilliant work on display there, I was particularly taken with the portfolio titled "Artifacts - Things from Japanese Internment Camps." The photos are of items Mr. Watanabe found at the Japanese American Museum in San Jose, California, and at a dump site from a California internment camp where Japanese Americans were detained during WW II.

I believe the photo above, of a flower arrangement inside a gallon jug, made from pipe cleaners by a resident of the camp, and subsequently left in the dump when the detainees were released, is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful images I have ever seen.

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