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Mount Fuji photographs by John Riddy

John Riddy, Shin-Fuji (Tree), 2005, from the series Views from Shin-Fuji, 2005, © John Riddy

John Riddy, Shin-Fuji (Tree), 2005, from the series Views from Shin-Fuji, 2005, © John Riddy

John Riddy (born 1959, Northampton) is interested in places and the passing of time. He is renowned for his black and white prints of urban architectural spaces, but his latest photographs are in colour. They explore the relationship between the traditional and modern landscapes of Japan. Layering the urbanised small town of Shin-Fuji with the natural beauty of Mount Fuji, Riddy contrasts the polar opposites - rural and urban, old and new, natural and artificial - for which modern Japan is famous.

Mount Fuji has become an icon associated with Japan's cultural past and traditions - a link nurtured by influential artists such as the printmaker Hokusai (1760-1849) and the photographer Felice Beato (1832-1909).

Riddy uses the mountain as a precisely placed point of reference to suggest the sophisticated spatial awareness in Japanese society and the Fuji fervour of modern tourism.

The timelessness, evoked by the stillness, the absence of people, the peculiar quality of light and Mount Fuji itself, is juxtaposed against the indications of a modern town with its geometrical power lines, stark red colours, flat signs and parked cars. These images explore the evolving relationship between town and mountainscape, people and nature.

Riddy presents Mount Fuji according to artistic tradition, but by including the town of Shin-Fuji he demands a new perspective, both perpetuating and adding to the myth of a mountain.

Written to accompany the John Riddy exhibition.

Click on the images below for larger versions.

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