I am a photographer and book artist living in Maine. I have just completed my latest book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness. In it, I attempt to create a history of Tokyo through its landscape. The title refers to the elements of nature in Buddhism. Each element refers not only to physical properties of the world, but also the psychological nature of an animate being, creating a dichotomy of the object and observer.
I am fascinated by our perception of an image, the aesthetic response, and the change in perception with knowledge of what is represented. Landscapes are a complex layering of material and form that reflect the chronology that created them. Our immediate response is very intuitive—we engage with the shapes, colors, and textures. Our experience of particular elements, trees, rivers, buildings, etc., create associated impressions, which can be unique to an individual. The landscape can go through another transformation with information that is not apparent, for example, all the islands and coastline in Tokyo are artificial, representing about 100 sq. mi. of reclaimed land—the landscape in Tokyo bay even 60 years ago would have just been open water. My book is available on my website.
— William Ash, Litchfield, Maine, USA