Monday, April 13, 2015

Shigeki Yoshida Photographer of Light


Photographing in black and white without the benefit of staging or manipulation, Shigeki Yoshida is after recording that elusive, intangible substance, light.

In many of his photographs, he allows lush blackness to almost overtake the scene, adding
a velvety moodiness to the work. Many strike a nostalgic note, seeming to reference a long lost era. Shigeki does this in an oblique manner and so the work doesn’t come across as hackneyed or sentimental.

Shigeki distills his images down to the barest minimum, conveying so much with very little. Take the photograph of people crossing the concourse at Grand Central. We get the sense of hustle and bustle from the figures and a cavernous space that continues on beyond the confines of the image, a glimpse of light fixtures and window locate us, but that is all.

Another, of a wall and parked cars suggests a great city. A dress in a window evokes bygone elegance and luxury. Two images, one of a sliver of sunlight hitting the street from between two tall buildings, the other, a lighted display case, call to mind Hopper. A deserted bullfighting ring in Spain is a wonderful architectural study and the image has a distinct psychological resonance with the arena captured in its unnatural state of quietude and emptiness.

“I photograph believing in the possibility of photography to depict even something invisible,”
says Shigeki. “I do not look for something visually obvious, but rather something suggestive like a momentary light which not only casts on an actual scene, but also reflects upon. my mind. I wish for the light to reach viewers’ minds in the hope of transcending the usual sentimental resonances, and of touching the viewers’ memories beyond specific cultural backgrounds.”

Born in Japan, Shigeki studied painting at Wako University in Tokyo. He studied photography at Hunter College, CUNY with Mark Feldstein and Roy DeCarava on a scholarship from the Japanese government, receiving an MFA in 2005. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

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