Tosei-Sha, , 2010. Hardbound. 64 pp., 42 color illustrations, 5-1/4x7-3/4".
Sunshine Pulse Photographs by Aki Tanaka Published by Tosei-Sha, 2010.
The goal of Sunshine Pulse, as Aki Tanaka states, is to capture feelings of "wavering between hope and anxiety." Presented in a contemporary style - color images printed full-bleed and bound in a slick hardcover - Tanaka's photographs convey a deeply traditional message. Lustery images, tightly-framed in the smallness of the book, invite slow, close consideration of moments of sunlight as it passes through and around the petals of cherry blossoms. Light source, reflection, and interference become thematic subject as much as photographic object, creating a tenuous present that balances between the glow of sunlight and blurred branches and blossoms.
Though out-of-focus images can often deliver more a sense of contrivance than meaning, these photographs convey complex and muted tension. A flat disk of sunlight becomes indistinguishable from myriad points of sky and flowers as light crosses paths in the confusion of the camera lens. Recognizing the significance attached to sakura, it is easy to appreciate the difficulty in taking on such a subject, photographically or in any medium. Nevertheless, Sunshine Pulse is an admirable accomplishment, avoiding cliche through its simplicity.
Nicholas Chiarella is the imaging specialist at the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His poems and photographs have appeared in Santa Fe Trend, BathHouse, Slideluck Potshow Santa Fe, and other venues. He is a member of Meow Wolf artist collective, contributing technical and design skills to performance and art installations. Chiarella graduated from the St. John's College GI program in 2007. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.