Michael Kenna’s stunning photography is displayed in MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Toyko, London’s V&A, The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris .. more than one hundred permanent collections. He’s out in nature with his camera deep into the night or just before dawn.
“We have infinite options of how to photograph something,” Kenna said in a 2019 interview with Light & Land Magazine. “That extends into the darkroom afterwards. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t gone over to digital. I prefer the slowness, the unpredictability, the complications. You never know what you have. It’s like the excitement of opening up a Christmas package when you get your negatives back.”
“There have been many occasions,” he continues, “when interesting images have appeared from what I had considered uninteresting places. The reverse has been equally true. I fully accept that I do not have the answers. I am certainly not in control, and I like that.”
Born in Lancashire, England in 1953, Kenna now lives in Seattle with his family. His long list of awards include the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the Ministry of Culture in France. Now, through May, Kenna is exhibiting work in Toronto through the Bau-Xi Gallery. You’ll see his striking photos from Japan, New York, China, France.
Why work in black and white? “Having less information allows your imagination to work more to create more options,” Kenna says. “I prefer an element of suggestion in my photography, rather than a detailed and accurate description. I think of my photographs as visual haiku poems, rather than full-length novels.”
Temple Pond, Sanboh-In, Koyasan
Snow on Pebbles, Toya Lake, Hokkaido
Seaweed Farms, Study 10, Xiapu, Fujian
Upper Manhattan and George Washington Bridge, New York
Maple Tree in Autumn, Kyoto, Hanshu
Rock Formations, Study 1, Yoichi, Hokkaido
Huangshan Mountains, Study 20, Anhui
Header: Hillside Fence, Study 7, Teshikaga, Hokkaido