Éloge de l’ombre (In Praise of Shadows) | Ise Jingu

It is said that 1500 Shinto rites are carried out each year at the shrines of Ise Jingu. Rice is offered, salt carefully shaped, and blessings of land and sea presented to the gods. These day-to-day rituals, unchanged over 2000 years, hold mysteries of Japanese beauty and virtue; secrets the photographs of Yasumichi Morita unravel and reveal. Morita’s eye is caught by rice husks scattered over earth, exquisite motions of the Shinto-priests, and minute features of the buildings. The layering of these minimalist fragments brings out the centuries of time accumulated within Ise Jingu. “The details no one sees are what I want to shoot,” he says. The time he communed face-to-face with Japanese beauty, while savoring the luxury of capturing the “everyday” that has been repeated over and over again, has become Morita’s lifework. Late at night, on the deserted white-pebbled-covered grounds of this sacred place, what is it that Morita sees?

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© Yasumichi Morita