© Arito Nishiki
by Arito Nishiki
Niigata City is located on the coastline in the northern part of the Sea of Japan. A village in the region sank into the sea as a result of coastal erosion called “Namikake”.
In the darkness of night on this coast, it takes a long time to adjust my vision. Once my eyes get used to it, images of a big rock, trees, a lighthouse, snow and the sea jump into my vision. The images have been there in the darkness, but they suddenly appeared to me.
The landscape seems as if it hasn’t been there before, and appears suddenly in the moment I shoot. The coastal erosion that occurs in this region repeatedly changes the landscape. It is not the demise of the landscape that disappears by erosion that intrigues, but the origin of the landscape that is newly born. Every flash I make in the darkness, a new form is born.
While I am at this place, I feel the ambiguity between existence and creation, between reality and fantasy. The ambiguity is that the seemingly permanent coast will forever be made unstable by erosion. The “Namikake” series is based on these, my feelings, on the coast in the snowy winter.
Arito Nishiki- Namikake
All images used with permission. ©Arito Nishiki
with Mike Foldes
Q) When did you start taking photographs?
A) I was working in publishing as a magazine editor. I became interested in photography when I was taking photos for this magazine.
Q) Do you also draw?
A) I like to see pictures, but I do not draw pictures.
Q) What is your first camera?
A) The camera I used when I first created my work was MEOPTA Milona, which was made in Czech.
Q) What is your favorite camera?
A) I change the camera according to my work, so I do not like a particular camera.
Q) Do you do much in digital management of your raw image?
A) At the stage of development I complete the image to some extent and add some processing.
Q) Who is your favorite photographer?
A) Boris Mikhailov influenced me a lot.
Q) Who has had the greatest influence on your work?
A) I believe that my work is influenced by the land that I was born and raised in, rather than the people who surround me. I think the kinds of weather of both Niigata and Akita where I have grown up have influenced me a lot. Both cities are located the northern part of the Japan Sea; they have a very serious winter season. There are many snowstorm days. I had felt a strong power from the snow that continues to fall with the wind. All of the Namikake series was taken in Niigata.
Q) Do you anticipate significant style changes in your work?
A) Most of my work is done at night. I think I will continue this style.
For me, what is reflected is an important issue, rather than what I shoot. The camera can release me from arbitrary concepts or images, and captures the tension of some sort that is originally present between the subject and photographer.
For more images and information, see https://www.aritonishiki.com/
This e-interview was conducted in June 2017. It has been edited.