3rd Place / 2018 / Nature /

Japan, Waterscapes and Beyond

  • Prize
    Gold in Nature/Water, 3rd Place winner in Nature
  • Photographer
    Olivier Robert

This project is a long-term work about the esthetic value of the man-made objects built on the lake shores or coastlines and the way they pertain to the landscapes. This continuous project started in 1995. Some important places such as the island of Hokkaidō, Lake Biwa, Uradome Coast and the islands around Kyushu have been particularly inspiring for their natural or man-controlled sceneries. Over time, the religious or fishing structures left alongside or above the water deeply affect the perception of the landscape one can have. They gradually belong to the landscape until they are completely mingled. Their remains deeply call me to mind for their singular expression and sometimes for their spiritual presence.

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.