Yukihito Masuura

The Japanese Aesthetic of Kehai in the Photography of Yukihito Masuura

Yukihito Masuura

Born in Tokyo in 1963, Masuura moved to Paris at age 18 to pursue his dream of a career in photography, by seeking employment as the assistant to Guy Bourdin, the renowned photographer of Vogue Paris. He then focused his attention to the works of such Western artists as Aristide Maillot, Antoine Bourdelle and Auguste Rodin, developing a unique personal aesthetic to transform three dimensional artifacts into two-dimensional art, via the application of natural light and refined camera movements.

Subsequently commissioned to photograph the collections of such major art museums as the Louvre, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Musée Rodin, Masuura was requested in 1988 to add more than thirty of his works to the permanent collection of the Bibliothèque national de France (National Library of France). A seven year project to photograph all of Michelangelo’s sculptures followed (1994-2001), resulting in his stunning "GENESIS" solo exhibitions held in Florence’s Casa Buonarotti and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, which dramatically illustrate the importance of natural light and shadows to the photographic interpretation of solid objects, corroborating Michelangelo’s belief in light as "The Hand of God." It was during this period that Masuura came to realize the importance of kehai - "The Invisible Indication" - as a guiding principle in his use of light.

In 2006, Masuura commenced his next major project, documenting the cyclical reconstruction and reconsecration of Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrines, Izumo Oyashiro (about every 60 years) and Ise Jingu (every 20 years). This religious tradition, Sengu, dates back more than 1300 years, and not only preserves the artisanal skills required for continuity in Japan’s architectural aesthetics, but also highlights the Japanese aesthetics of wood, paper, textiles and natural light as an artistic symbiosis with nature. Masuura uses custom-made traditional Japanese paper Washi for his exhibition prints.

"I would like to show the world the evidence that it is possible to continue beauty and maintain a sustainable society for more than 1000 years" stated Masuura for this event.

Masuura’s works are included in museums and private collections world-wide, including the private library of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. He was awarded the prestigious Salon d’Automne in 1987.