Shizenkan by Emily Shur

Issue 13

Shizenkan is a Japanese word that translates to “one’s own perspective on nature”.

I have continued to photograph in Japan since my first visit in 2004 because I have never enjoyed the act of taking pictures anywhere else more. Photographing there has been peaceful, challenging, and exciting. I’ve allowed myself to make the pictures I truly want to make and to respect my own process. My photographs are illustrative of what I find beautiful, interesting, and calming about Japan. My intention is to preserve that state of mind within myself through these photographs.

Over time, I’ve become interested in vegetation and the natural world as symbols of morality in Japanese culture. I identify deeply with the level of respect that nature commands there, as well as the mesmerizing attention to detail prevalent within Japanese life. This honoring of nature is indicative of a certain way of thinking; a collective consciousness that goes beyond simply caring for plants and animals. It is a way of life in Japan, and the way I want to live.

Emily Shur is a Los Angeles, CA based artist.
To view more of Emily's work, please visit her website.

Read Larissa Leclair's interview with Emily here.

Parking Lot, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, 2009 

Parking Lot, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, 2009 

Gold Car, Minami-Senju, Tokyo, 2009 

Gold Car, Minami-Senju, Tokyo, 2009 

Imperial Palace Gardens with Pink Flowers, Tokyo, 2006 

Imperial Palace Gardens with Pink Flowers, Tokyo, 2006 

Flower Box, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, 2009 

Flower Box, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, 2009 

Morning in Shibuya, Tokyo, 2009 

Morning in Shibuya, Tokyo, 2009 

Rikugien Garden, Tokyo, 2009 

Rikugien Garden, Tokyo, 2009 

Covered Moped, Tsukishima, 2009 

Covered Moped, Tsukishima, 2009 

Delivery, Shinjuku, Tokyo, 2009 

Delivery, Shinjuku, Tokyo, 2009 

Fall Colors, Nikko, 2009 

Fall Colors, Nikko, 2009 

Two Trees, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Two Trees, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Demolition, Nikko, 2009 

Demolition, Nikko, 2009 

Fire, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Fire, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Laundry, Takao, 2009 

Laundry, Takao, 2009 

Butterfly, Takao, 2009 

Butterfly, Takao, 2009 

Dog Statues, Takao, 2009 

Dog Statues, Takao, 2009 

Stream, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Stream, Ise-Shima, 2004 

Columns, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 2009 

Columns, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 2009 

Imperial Palace Gardens with Stone Wall, Tokyo, 2006 

Imperial Palace Gardens with Stone Wall, Tokyo, 2006 

Hama Rikyu Garden, Tokyo, 2009 

Hama Rikyu Garden, Tokyo, 2009 

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo, 2009 

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo, 2009