Honorable Mention / 2018 / Nature / Trees

Calligraphy Trees

  • Photographer
    Olivier Robert

This project consists in a personal search of naturally-shaped
trees that have a close connection with the traditional Japanese
ink-painting (sumi-e). This painting has always been an
important source of inspiration and has influenced my work for
many years.

This work started in Japan about 10 years ago on the routes of
Buddhist pilgrimages in the entire country. I’ve regularly spent
time in holy mountains for my ongoing project about the
statuary ans sacred sites of Japan. I deeply feel that these
indomitable trees have a spiritual presence in the landscapes.
They pertain to contemplative sceneries that have inspired
generations of philosophers, painters and artists over time.

Olivier Robert is a professional photographer and landscape architect sharing his life between Europe and Japan. Initiated very early into the world of photography and dark room, he got his first camera at the age of 15 (1985). At that time, he also discovered Asia. This intense experience has drastically influenced his way of life and his vision of the world. From then on, photography and Asian philosophy will be closely linked.

In 1994, he graduated from the Institute of Landscape Architecture in Belgium and left his native country for Switzerland. As he arrived in the Lake Geneva region in 1995, he started a photographic work about the lake. After some years, this work has become a personal project based on a deep fascination of the photographer for this lake. This project is still continuing 20 years after and has pushed him into visiting many other lakes in the world. Since 2004, he has devoted his work almost exclusively to landscapes and waterscapes using mainly long exposures.

For his continuous projects as well as family reasons, he often gets thoroughly across Japan looking for specific landmarks which convey timelessness, simplicity and sometimes mystery.
This approach has led him to the most remote places of the archipelago, through mountains, temples and shrines about which he has also carried out a photographic project on Buddhist statuary and sacred art for years. His work is deeply inspired by the Japanese ink-painting (sumi-e) and is closely related to many of its technical aspects. These elements strongly emphasize his compositions in which the suggestion prevails over the reality.
H. Takatsuka, Japan.