Yu Yamauchi quests for primal truths about humans, nature, and the world through long sojourns undertaken far from human habitation. In Dawn he presented images of sunrises taken from Mount Fuji over a total of 600 days spent staying in a lodge on the seventh station; in Planet, which documented his five-year journey across Mongolia, he focused on the coexistence in that land of a multiplicity of worlds all embracing different flows of time.
Yamauchi’s ongoing quest reaches a culmination in this new collection born out of weeks-long solitary stays in the forests of Yakushima repeated time and again over a period of nine years. Jinen—an alternative reading for the Japanese word for nature—reflects a Buddhist-inflected understanding of nature that does not see it as distinct from humankind; the photos project Yamauchi’s internal world among the trees, giving visual manifestation to its interconnections with nature. What we behold in these pages, then, are scenes from a real-world fantasy featuring the very Earth itself.
Photographer Yu Yamauchi, born in 1977 in Hyogo Prefecture, spends long periods living in nature in an effort to explore the relationship between it and humans and uncover the fundamental workings of the world. He trained himself in photography and worked as a studio assistant before embarking on a full-fledged artistic career. He has previously published two collections—Dawn (Akaaka, 2010) and Planet (Seigensha, 2020)—as well as a book, Kumo no ue ni sumu hito (The Man Who Dwells above the Clouds; Sayzansha, 2014), about the owner of the lodge that he stayed in while photographing Dawn. Based in Nagano Prefecture, he holds exhibitions in Japan and around the world.