One of my favourite pastimes is collecting images of foreign landscapes, especially mountains with unknown names and whereabouts. In one such image, a row of peaks glow pale gold against a rich pre-dawn sky, while in another, a dark range looms large over a sparse landscape scattered with farmhouses and rolling fields.
For some people, the mountain represents a challenge; the pinnacle of achievement. It is a destination that allows them to explore their boundaries and embrace the experiences that arise along the way. Yet for others, myself included, mountains seem to have a more symbolic meaning: they embody the mystique, charms and all else that nature comprises. This feeling was captured by photographer Yuji Hamada when describing his series of self-styled landscapes, Primal Mountain (2011-2012).
“What is most important is the image of a mountain in the viewer’s mind.”
As someone who lives in Tokyo, these images of nature are a source of inspiration, enticing me to travel and delve beneath their surfaces to uncover the stories they contain. This thought was on my mind as I gazed out the window at the stark ripples of the Hokuriku landscape on a plane bound for Komatsu Airport, Ishikawa.
*This text was the basis for a column written for the outdoor brand Icebreaker, who produce a collection of natural dyed garments in the Hokuriku region.
Beyond a line of curtains in a darkened room, crowds huddle around tables trying to catch a glimpse of the prototypes beneath the spotlights. On one table, magnetic currents breathe life into tiny scale-shaped fragments, while on another are experiments with thread, cloth, ribbon and embroidery. The atmosphere hints at a museum or laboratory, but rather than artefacts or specimens, the focus is on the possibilities of a single material: paper.
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