Shinichi Maruyama’s Photography Captures Subtleties of Motion

by Elizabeth MaskaskyPosted on

Photographer Shinichi Maruyama employs cutting-edge technologies to capture elegant and abstract images of liquid and human forms in motion. In a series entitled “Kusho,” which is part performance and part image making, Maruyama throws black ink and water into the air and records the moment the two separate mediums collide. Although these images could only have been captured using brand new strobe light technologies, Maruyama still draws his inspiration from timeless artistic practices and preoccupations. In his artist statement, he writes about memories of writing Chinese characters in sumi ink as a young student: “Once your brush touches paper, you must finish the character, you have one chance. It can never be repeated or duplicated. You must commit your full attention and being to each stroke.” Like the brushes of ink on paper, each depiction of the ink’s flight through the sky represents a fleeting moment that can never be recreated.

In the more recent series entitled “Nude,” Maruyama continues to explore ways to capture movement, this time also adding in the element of time. In collaboration with choreographer Jessica Lang, Maruyama paired dancers performing different routines, which were then photographed at 2,000 images per second. Each photograph combines 10,000 of these individual images into a single shot. The resulting abstract swirls appear like a liquid sculpture and are reminiscent of the calligraphy referenced in other works. By combining different photographs into one image, Maruyama depicts the dancers in a way that would seem to differ from how they actually appeared at the time, calling to mind the ways we experience our own presence and history in the world.

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