A portrait of Japan by Emily Shur


Emily Shur first visited Japan in 2004. At that time, she had no intention of beginning a project of any size. Since then she has returned multiple times a year, every year, solely to take pictures. She says: ‘Initially I was taken by the cliché imagery generally associated with Japan, but over time I began to see something else.

The pictures became less about all that is there and more about what isn’t.’ Her work is focused on quiet, subtle moments that she has come to view as symbols of morality in Japanese culture. She identifies 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 the natural world is indicative of a certain way of thinking; a collective consciousness that goes beyond simply caring for plants or animals or taking pride in one’s work. It is a way of life in Japan, and the way I want to live.’

All images © Emily Shur

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