Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2007
July 15, 2019
Toshio Shibata is internationally recognized for his photographs of man- made structures within the natural landscape. This particular view by him stands out due to its delicate balance of light, steel, concrete and forest. Unlike most bridges, it appears to lead directly into a mountainside. More questions are raised than answered....such as where is it; what does it connect; who gets to use it; and what time of day was it taken?
About a 9-hour drive southwest of Tokyo lies the village of Okawa, population 400, the smallest inland village on Japan's four main islands. Surrounded by steep mountains, it is a nature lover's paradise, and a frequent destination for Toshio, who has photographedthis bridge, the Mitsuishi (three stone) Bridge, many times over the years. That its destination is unclear, and that the bridge casts a strange shadow on the hillside below, transforms infrastructure into a poetry of silence.
This print, measuring approximately 20 x 24," is one of only three that remain from the edition of 25. Two editions of the image printed in larger sizes, each edition 10, are completely sold out. It is presently on exhibit, beside two recent Mitsuishi variants, in our current Shibata career retrospective: TOSHIO SHIBATA: FIVE DECADES