This project is inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s famous set of woodcut prints ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’.
Several thoughts on Hokusai’s woodcuts informed the my approach. In most prints, Hokusai shows people pursuing a brief activity, which could be translated captures of moments, which photography is excellent at. The representation of time passing is more subtle. Hokusai uses symbols of seasons in each image and Mount Fuji’s presence in every image reminds us of even longer time scales. We are progressing from moments to seasons, to years, lives and eras. These were the ideas I had in mind when I travelled to Japan twice for two months, in Spring 2014 and in Winter 2015/2016. Hokusai’s woodcuts are part of a genre called ukiyo-e, which means ‘images from a floating world’, floating both in time and in space. They are clearly structured in different layers, letting Mount Fuji hover above or next to the world of humans. Often civilisation intrudes graphically into Fuji’s sacred space. Trees or posts cut into the mountain’s silhouette, house roofs and other constructions imitate its triangular profile. These compositional considerations guided the photographs’ framing during my trip. After I finished shooting this spring, I have been selecting my photographs and am now exploring book publication options.