Skip to content

Photo of the Week #287

Toshio Shibata

Tight cropped rn color ephoto of the cricular pattern created by the sawed off ends of a large pile logged trees. A glimpse of blue sky is visible at the top of the frame, and numbered markings are visible on the sawed end of the logs.

Ōshū City, Iwate Prefecture, 2018
Type-c print
20 × 24 / 32 × 40 / 40 × 50 inches


Monday, March 4, 2024
This visually dynamic photograph demonstrates the strong sense of abstraction that Toshio Shibata brings to his photography. In the 1960s Shibata studied painting in Tokyo, and came to photography in the 1970s, via his interest in printmaking. Shibata cites the thoughtfully framed landscapes of Group f/64 photographers like Edward Weston as a key early inspiration, and that influence can be felt in the skillful way that Shibata crops a picture like this one, creating a lively composition that transforms a scene of industrialized logging into an image with all the fun and fizz of champagne bubbles.

When finding his voice as a photographer, Shibata made a conscious decision to embrace elements that conventional landscape photographers would not deem to be photogenic. He observes that: “With painting you can choose what elements to include in a scene, but this is not the case with photography: everything gets included. This distinction between painting and photography was important to me in developing my photographic approach. I felt that technique was not what defined a photographer, but the ability to find a new subject.”

Prestel has a newly published career-spanning monograph presenting Toshio Shibata's work, with an introduction by Phillip Prodger