by Akiko Kimura
The title of 「 i 」is derived from the Japanese 'Ai-ilo'（藍色;Ai-color) and is also taken from the first letter of indigo.
Indigo is a Japanese traditional dye with a simplicity and beauty that helps to stimulate our imagination.
Ai-ilo is a natural technique for dyeing and is in itself a recognized color. Japanese people know it as “Japan Blue”. In this indigo dyeing process, different shades are created based on the number of times the material is dyed. These colors are beautifully named Kachiiro（褐色）,Kon（紺）、Ai（藍）、Noshime（熨斗目）、Hanada（縹）、Asagi（浅葱）、Kamenozoki（瓶除き）.
Ai-ilo is not only the color “blue”, but shades representing the blues we can see in the sea, the sky, even the shades of trees and therefore nature itself.
I originally started this project looking to discover an untouched view of the landscape for all. After developing my work through photography, I set out in pursuit of an Ai-tinged world.
I have captured my Ai-world in New Zealand, Alaska, Iceland, Finland, Croatia and also in various regions of Japan on film with a medium format camera.
When I began taking pictures I did not realize how horizontal lines of the horizon became more frequent in my compositions. Once I looked at contact prints and remembered the words of my grandfather.
“Contradictory things in the world are all connected with each other. Light and shadow, day and night, top and bottom, life and death…”
After internalizing this thought I paid even more attention to the line which divided my works right in the middle.
Later on, the horizontal lines began to disappear from my pictures.
Light and shadow, day and night, top and bottom, life and death… the conscious division only took place inside my head but time after time I began to consider that everything is actually an entity.
The shades of Ai-ilo lead us to my favorite phrase,
“Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur”(一期一会;Ichi-go ichi-e).
This is a metaphor that can be attached to nature itself. There is no homogenous green in the natural world, every year the trees and flowers grow and bloom differently and present us with a new experience time after time.
I feel the process of taking and looking at photographs is, in essence, the same.
That I am here and can experience the light that surrounds me is because of nature. Without nature I could not exist and this simple realization and pleasure is what I try to capture on film.
The viewer brings their own experiences to the work allowing them their own natural interpretation without any forced direction. The pictures come alive through the mind of the viewer and the varied and individual experiences they bring to them. This is also true with time, as time brings new experiences and therefore new ways of seeing.
I like to think my work is re-born again and again through each viewer's interpretation.
Akiko Kimura is a photographer based in Tokyo.
To view more of Akiko Kimura's work, please visit her website.