Photographs by Cuny Janssen.
Snoeck, 2013. 58 pp., 20 color illustrations, 18x13¾".
'Ever since the day I saw the blossoming treetops in the Yoshino's mountains, my heart has left my body behind', wrote the Japanese poet Saigyõ in the twelfth century. And even in those days, the area planted with over 30,000 cherry trees flanking the Yoshino Mountains must have been an awe-inspiring sight and make it an eloquent witness today to man's harmonious design for luxuriant nature, so characteristic for Japan. For over 1,400 years, the temple, the mountain slopes and the river in Nara prefecture are thus part of the Spring cherry blossom season in the Buddhist pilgrim calendar; in former times, it was the preserve of the aristocracy, today Yoshino is a popular tourist attraction.
With 19 major cross-format photographs, Cuny Janssen has gathered together not only captivating and sensitive nature shots from Yoshino in her unusual book of photographs, but has also included a small anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Jos Vos, which the Dutch Japan specialist rounds up with a travel essay, 'A fox in Yoshino'. In a way rivalled by almost no other contemporary photographer, Cuny Janssen knows how to structure her books to suit the given topic - in Yoshino for example she increases the calm and contemplative mood of her photographs with a selection brittle poetry that celebrates of this site of Japanese longing.
Read the review by Sarah Bradley