Fragments of Nature

“To collect photographs is to collect the world,” wrote Susan Sontag in her seminal book On Photography (1977). Miko Okada (b. 1993) is a Japanese artist interested in how images construct our understanding of place. She visits and revisits, takes and retakes, in order to develop repeated exposures of the same location. These fragments are later strung up in grids; they flicker, fold and dance in the wind, responding to ever-changing seascapes, fields and woodlands. The result is a dreamlike collage of nature’s details.

Okada says: “I developed this process – whereby I revisit a location and capture it again – to hone my perception, to be more aware and get more out of the places I was photographing. This required physical effort and so it made me notice things more, like the subtle incongruencies caused by the sunlight and wind. I’ve created an illusionary effect by erasing the string from which the pictures were hung.”

This hands-on process could, in an era defined by advanced editing software and AI, be mistaken for digital manipulation. But Okada really does hang the images in-situ, taking them back to where they came from. It’s a contemplative and time-consuming approach which has garnered deserved acclaim; she was a LensCulture Critics’ Choice winner 2023, exhibiting in major cities like Amsterdam, Paris and Tokyo.

Image Credits:
1. The Sound of the Wind 09, 2020 © Miko Okada
2. The Sound of the Wind 06, 2020 © Miko Okada
3. The Sound of the Wind 08, 2021 © Miko Okada
4. The Sound of the Wind 02, 2020 © Miko Okada