After having spent many years engaged in photo advertising, I was introduced by a certain magazine as a scenery photographer. “If that how they see me,” I found myself thinking, “Perhaps I should take myself seriously as a scenic photographer.”

Standing in nature’s midst, I realized nature is like a teacher imparting lessons and reminding us of how small we are in the grand scheme of life.

One early spring day on a mountainside, my heart was moved and tears formed in my eyes as I observed the fresh verdure. In May, I had an opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park in California. One night while taking photos under the light of a full moon, a rainbow appeared near a waterfall. Such awe overcame me because I had not seen it with my naked eye, but only in the photograph I had patiently waited to capture in the dim light. I felt compelled to dance crazily in celebration of nature’s splendor. In November, an early morning in Tohoku beside a lake after a refreshing rain — no sound–no smell —  a gentle breeze induced in my such a gratitude of nature that i lifted my hands to the heavens, spread them wide and quietly closed my eyes to take in the serenity of the scene.I had never before felt such a serene sense of bliss, a feeling of ease and reverence that transported me.

At this point, I realized a deep meditation with Mother Nature. It’s said that the Japanese monk, scholar and artist, Kukai, in an effort to acquire truth and the essence of life, built a meditation room in a temple in Kyoto – and empty space surrounded by 21 Buddhist statues. He based it on the esoteric Buddhist teachings and symbolism called the Mikkyo Mandala. “Mandla” is Aanskrit, and translates to ‘the acquisition of truth, the attainment of life’s essence.’

Utilizing my expertise in photography with Kukai’s creation in mind, I set about expressing the happiness and wonder of nature, and put together my own “Mandala”, an alternative stage of meditation.

After looking at my work, if I have somehow managed to convey a feeling of awe and reverence, I will be happy.Thank you very much.

Ogawa Katsuhisa