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UEKI

$57.00

“Photographing the relationship between humans and the natural world has been a theme I have explored for the past 25 years or so. As a city boy, the deep natural world was always attractive and yet somewhat foreign to me. That all changed during the six months I lived in Brazil and my experiences there with the land and the peoples brought me to the Amazon Forest. I was mesmerised by the fragrant, lush forests and the unbelievable density of the nature. It made sense to me then that all the human problems on the planet are mostly caused from some sort of power struggles involving land ownership, deforestation, and the expansion of humans.

In New York City, where I lived for 22 years, my interest was primarily focused on abandoned lots and community gardens. Places where boxes of land gave some greenery in an urban jungle. These types of green spaces really existed in the most organic forms. Weeds eventually claimed the empty lots, encapsulating even the occasional rusted car. Community gardens, cared for by the benevolence of neighbours, gave city dwellers some reprieve from the concrete.

In Tokyo, where I grew up and spent most of my youth, and where I live today, there is a persistence of concrete growth, but nature tries; there are street gardens or spaces where potted plants line small alleys, buildings and homes. The “human made” nature that individuals and communities care for and nourish are often in places of demolition due to modern developments and thus, with these developments, we are moving away from a more traditional ways of life.

Japanese people have a long history of rituals and relationships with nature, which are expressed through art; such as carefully tended gardens, flower arrangements (ikebana), poetry, paintings and bonsai. The seasonal viewing of nature remains popular even to this day. Much literature has been produced throughout history about these topics, though most of these arts are practiced by a very small portion of the population and very few new gardens are made today.

During the Edo Period, when peace was established between Feudal Lords, Japan came together and the country united. Samurai Lords found other ways to spend their time and enjoy life. Potted plants were one outlet that emerged out of this time and people shared seasonal plants among each other. The potted plants in front of homes still creates a sense of aesthetic and connection to community. Plant life essentially connects people.

If you imagine 100 years or more from now, when people look back at our time and see how we connected with nature, it is probably the bohemian street gardens more so than ikebana or bonsai. Community, group driven natural environments, that hold nature and humans together in a shared experience. Even this is threatened to some communities now as expensive real estate development replaces these fixtures of urban life. I believe that this way of sharing nature deserves to have its own history book before this too vanishes. I call this book UEKI.”

—  Yasuyuki Takagi


About Yasuyuki Takagi 

Yasuyuki Takagi is a photographer / director born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied Media Arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. He assisted many leading photographers both art and commercial. Among his mentors include Koto Bolofo, Elliott Erwitt and Stefan Ruiz.

In 2012 he was a finalist at 27th International Hyeres Festival of Photography and CCNY Camera Club of New York international competition in 2014. He has collaborated with an award winning IT firm ARAT in Tokyo. By viewing a photograph through a technological device such as a smart phone or tablet, the photograph can become animated. This blurs the boundaries of still and motion imaging. This collaboration and his artistic direction had been shown worldwide in Tent London, Tokyo Design week, Maison & Objet Paris, PAD ART FAIR Paris, ISETAN in Tokyo Japan.

His personal work has been exhibited at the Capsule Gallery, Corridor Gallery, Lorimoto Gallery in New York, Artligue Gallery in Paris and IMA gallery, 2nd annual Kyotographie International photography festival, Atelier MUJI, 21_21 Design Sight in Japan.

He is a contributor to such publications for The New York Times T style magazine, Sunday Telegraph magazine, Le Monde M magazine and Wallpaper magazine amongst others.

His first book 小さな深い森 Petite Foret Profonde was published December 2013 by funny bones editions in Paris. His second book 植木 UEKI was published in Autumn 2015 by IKI editions Leers France. His new book マロニエ Marronnier was shortlisted at ARLES2019 Rencontres de la photographie Dummy Books award.

His directing works include: How to be like Tom Sachs a portrait of artist Tom Sachs, A portrait of a Place: Arakicho for Nowness, Hello Korea US Olympics and Paralympics team Pyeong Chang 2018 for US Embassy of Seoul Korea and Jungjin LEE for IMA living with photography.

Out of stock

BY Yasuyuki Takagi
DESIGNER Eric Pillault
TEXT BY Philippe Pons
DETAILS 25 × 20 cm
98 pages
Softcover, Japanese binding
YEAR 2020

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